Spar is the UK convenience market leader with over 2,600 stores, and its 10,000 screens includes those used by stores, regional offices, central office, depots and trucks.

The last 12 months have seen the company working on a major upgrade of its Epos system, which will be based on a new IP network, a project preceded by the incorporation of broadband into retail stores.

Because the firm manages franchisees it provides IT-based systems including instore ATMs to the stores and the Spar virtual academy, an online database to encourage loyalty.

The retailer has also enhanced its intranet offering by incorporating goods tracking features through StoreWorld IntraStore from Centric Supply Chain Solutions. The solution went live on 1 July 2009 as part of Sparnet, the intranet for Spar franchise holders and the supermarket chain's holding company.

IntraStore will ensure efficient communication between the head office and the different stores. Spar proprietors can, for example, consult goods flow information online. They can also consult electronic packing lists to find out what exactly a certain shipment contains.

Currently, around 350 Spar proprietors are using the retail solution. Both Spar proprietors and the head office are highly enthusiastic about the ease of use the solution offers, as well as about the clear user interface and reduction of paper flow thanks to the use of StoreWorld IntraStore.

For store management Spar provides its Sparpos in-store scanning system. Features, including customer credits and accounts, stock management, promotions administration, ISDN, EFTPOS, electronic auditing, age checking and waste management.

The retailer is also exploring use of VOIP and looking to use the IP network to speed up card transactions and drive down telecoms costs. In the back office it is adopting a thin-client/ASP model to replace existing client-server application.