COMMENT: retail experience and community commitment from Henderson’s

COMMENT: retail experience and community commitment from Henderson’s
Martin Agnew, Joint Managing Director, Henderson Group
Martin Agnew, Joint Managing Director at Henderson Group says their retail partners share their own ethos which focuses on community, value, quality and provenance.

Throughout 2023, 14 SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO retailers in Northern Ireland celebrated milestone partnership anniversaries with Henderson Group. The total came to over 500 years of retailing experience and commitment to serving their communities.

While some of our retail partners have been proud to display our brands above their doors for 50 years, many have been serving their local communities for even longer, through family businesses which have a passion for retail and locality. It’s incredible to look back at the evolution of their stores throughout the years, which are examples of how we as an industry must keep on moving – something more important in 2023 than ever.

2023 saw the completion of 109 retail projects across our company-owned and independent estate marking an investment of £49.7million. This included landmark store openings from the state-of-the-art EUROSPAR fresh foods superstore in Killyleagh, to extensions and renovations at some of Henderson’s busiest company-owned stores to update and introduce butchery and bakery, production kitchens and the popular Delish deli offering.

Henderson Wholesale continued to partner with independent retailers to build stores which deliver to the demands of that town and community, with Mulgrew’s EUROSPAR in Carryduff, SPAR Coopers Mill and SPAR Kesh standing out as significant new builds.

It means that throughout 2023, an incredible 59,940 sq. ft. of additional retail space was built by the Group and its partners to cater for Northern Ireland shoppers.


Everything we do is with our retailers and shoppers in mind. We source 75% of our fresh produce from local farmers and suppliers, we invest heavily in deals and campaigns throughout the year, and we look to the future to ensure we are working sustainably so that we remain a robust business for our retail partners.

That futureproofing took a huge step forward in 2023 with the switching on of 1,494 solar panels which cover 75% of Henderson Wholesale’s fresh foods warehouse at the business’s headquarters in Mallusk. And at the end of the year, Henderson Retail announced a contract with bp pulse, which will see the installation of a new network of ultra-fast and rapid electric vehicle charging points throughout their 100+ SPAR and EUROSPAR sites.

Many of our independent partners are also leading the sustainability charge. Last year saw Maxol reveal the second of their Ultra Rapid EV Charging Hubs at their £2.4m Braid River SPAR in Ballymena, an impressive partnership investment that we strive for with our retailers.

When it comes to plans for 2024, the Group remains consistent with their intentions. We have always said we will channel profits back into the business and that is what we do year-on-year. We currently have significant investments planned for around 70 retail projects lined up for 2024 throughout our company owned, partnership and independent store network, including an exciting new build from the Knox family, a Nisa retailer who converted all three of their stores to SPAR in 2023.

Our business and our retail partners have stores in every neighbourhood in Northern Ireland, they are run by local people and employ local people. They get deliveries daily from local farmers, so money spent in those stores goes into that all-important circular economy here in NI.