Henderson Group continues to invest in talent

Sam Davidson, group human resources director at Henderson's, with Emma Gibson, the company's human resources manager. Photo: Declan Roughan
Gail Bell

HENDERSON Group, which is returning this year as one of the business partners in the Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards, positively exemplifies this year's theme of Talent Equals Success.

With more than 3,700 employees, the company which owns the Spar, Eurospar, Vivo, Vivoxtra and Vivo Essentials brands in Northern Ireland, is a leading employer and continues to spearhead career-boosting projects throughout its wholesale, retail, property and foodservice platforms.

“The group's companies are testament to their own talent,” said Sam Davidson, group HR director.

“All companies are recognised as Investors in People, with Retail and Foodservice achieving the Gold Standard.

“Foodservice also won the UK Grocer 'Gold' accolade of Employer of the Year in 2018, as well being named as one of Deloitte Ireland's Best Managed Companies for the sixth consecutive year.”

Areas of expertise in the Henderson Group range from operations and logistics, to IT, marketing and customer services, with a number of programmes in place for career development.

These include the ‘Warehouse to Wheels' initiative and a Leadership Pathway programme which provides aspiring leaders with the opportunity to hone their skills set. Henderson Retail also offers several trainee routes, including food-to-go management roles and a store management graduate scheme.

In addition, at the start of the year, the group announced an investment of £90,000 in six 'business experience' placements for students across the various sectors.

Overall, more than 300 extra staff were recruited following another year of growth which saw a 9.3 per cent rise in employment in 2018.

There are now 478 Spar, Eurospar, Vivo and Vivoxtra stores in Northern Ireland, that number boosted by 15 new company-owned and independent stores which opened their doors last year.

Among these were two flagship stores: Spar Fortfield in Carrickfergus and Eurospar Wallace Village in Lisburn.

Fortfield delivers an entirely new concept for the retailer, with a footprint double the size of its predecessor, increased focus on food-to-go and the first Barista Bar Café.

Eurospar Wallace Village, meanwhile, opened in Lisburn as the centrepiece for the £10m residential development, which has set a precedent for the community supermarket brand of which there are now almost 70 across Northern Ireland.

“As consumer demands and trends diversify and behaviour changes ever more to a little-and-often approach, instead of one 'big shop', Henderson's retail stores will be at the forefront of communities, catering to their evolving needs,” Mr Davidson said.

He predicted that by the end of the year, the Henderson Group would be an even more efficient operation through investment in logistics - resulting in smoother deliveries - and through investment in the shopper experience, such as Henderson Technology's self-checkout, as well as diversification of products.

Wholesale in 2018 experienced a 12.5 per cent rise in sales thanks to continued investment and a drive to fill the shelves of retail outlets with the very best of the region's local suppliers –including the Enjoy Local and Kitchen Own-brand ranges.

“Henderson Group is truly at the forefront of defining the future of our sector and we are committed to building even further on our success, by continuing to develop solutions for our customers across all our diverse areas,” Mr Davidson added.

“With this level of ambition comes considerable opportunities for members of our team – and indeed, new colleagues - to bring their passion, their expertise and their knowledge to our business.”

:: Entries for the 2019 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards will remain open until Friday May 3, with the finalists being announced on Thursday May 16. More details at Follow us on Twitter at @irishnewsWEA

:: To register for the free March 27 'Writing a Winning Application' workshop go to and click on the ‘workshop' tab

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