Owner of Spar to spend £25m on expansion
Retail giant Henderson Group - owner of Spar in Northern Ireland - has made a £25m investment in its business.
The family-run company has spent the money on buying new land and building a distribution centre, trailer park and revamped head office at its Mallusk headquarters - replacing buildings which have been in place since 1974.
The office is being rebuilt by Ballymena firm Martin & Hamilton Construction in a £4.5m deal, while Henderson has also spent over £1m in commissioning a new trailer park housing its 92 lorries.
The new trailer park has been built by Hugh Griffin & Sons in Portglenone - and the company has also bought four new double-decker lorries.
There are 322 Spar stores in Northern Ireland - 280 in the Spar convenience store format and 44 in the larger Eurospar supermarket guise. Out of that portfolio, the Henderson Group fully owns 76 stores, of which 60 are Spar and 16 Eurospar.
In its last accounts for the year ending December 31, parent company John Henderson (Holdings) Ltd had pre-tax profit of £21.2m, up 16% from £18.2m, and turnover of £663m, up 3% from £642.8m.
Joint managing director Martin Agnew - who runs the company with fellow managing director, his brother Geoffrey - said: "We make no secret that our profits are re-invested into the business.
"This major investment in the development of a new main office and distribution site shows our commitment to providing a better working environment for our employees, as well as a more efficient way of working to benefit our retailers and logistics department.
"We are confident this growth will bring future employment opportunities across all departments and companies that make up the Henderson Group."
Geoffrey Agnew said the firm would be starting work next year to adapt a distribution warehouse at Hydepark, which it bought last year.
"This will see the beginning of our new warehouse developments to house Henderson Wholesale's ambient range," he added.
Henderson Group has been in consistent expansion mode in recent years.
Next year, it will open a new 6,000 sq ft Eurospar on Belfast's Upper Lisburn Road, on the site of a smaller Spar store.
Geoffrey and Martin Agnew are the great-grandsons of the founder John Henderson, who started the business as a bread and milk wholesaler in St George's Market in 1897.