25 October 2022
Sales director: Peter Dwan
Number of stores nationwide: 150
Typical store size: 135sq m
Head office: BWG Foods, Greenhills Road, Tallaght, Dublin 24, D24 Y722
Wholesale partner: BWG Foods
Type of distribution network: BWG National Distribution Centre (NDC) servicing fresh, ambient and alcohol to all Mace stores nationwide
Social media: https://www.facebook.com/MACEIreland
Tagline: Going the extra smile
Q: Working in partnership with retailers, what support and advice do you provide to enable them to run their businesses more successfully?
A: Mace is very proud to always have its retailers and their staff at the heart of its mission. Testament to this is the ongoing investment in training and upskilling tools available from the Mace U-Learning Academy. This helps educate new and existing staff on all the relevant policies and procedures when working in a Mace store, ensuring best-in-class customer experience.
To be the longest established convenience retail brand in Ireland is evidence that the Mace team fully understand the need to evolve and adapt to ensure we meet the needs of shoppers and retailers. Backed by the buying power of BWG Foods; Mace retailers have access to an unrivalled range of house brands of foods and hot beverage solutions, an award-winning distribution service and innovative in-store ordering technology.
Our Retail Operations Advisory team is complemented by our dedicated Fresh Food and Alcohol teams, who combine to provide our retailers with a best-in-market support system designed to support them and help them maximise profitability, which is backed up by our robust Standards’ Programme covering all elements of the shop.
Q: How have you innovated to deliver in-store concepts and a store design that consumers are drawn towards?
A: We revealed and launched our Mace Strategy in 2020 to great effect and success. We based our strategy heavily on the consumer trends of the day and we have been out-performing the market consistently every year since 2020.
In terms of retail development, the response of customers to the new Mace store design in locations across Ireland has been very positive and well received by the industry. The new image is reflective of the shift convenience and forecourt stores have been experiencing in recent years. Optimisation of fresh food displays and the mouth-watering foods on offer are designed to entice a peckish local or passer-by. The off-licence has seen a true transformation with new feature ceiling design and lighting. In an innovative design feature, spirits are in open-flow presentation and while retaining crucial functionality, the separated design of the off-licence space is proving very popular with shoppers.
Q: As the cost-of-living-crisis continues to affect consumers’ budgets, value-for-money has become even more important. How are you ensuring you provide the best value and promotions possible for your retailers?
A: Value is a hugely important facet of the Mace offering. As Ireland’s longest serving symbol group – 62 years – we have built up a reputation for offering value to our customers while not compromising on quality and, now more than ever, retailers need to offer their customers a relevant range while remaining cognisant of pricing.
Q: How extensive is your brand marketing programme and how do you ensure your messaging resonates with consumers?
It is exciting times for Mace, Ireland’s longest established symbol retail convenience brand. From a marketing perspective, the launch last year of a fantastic multi-platform advertising and social media campaign created huge stand-out for the brand by featuring Mace ambassador and Irish rugby captain, Jonathan Sexton. The Mace brand proposition, Going the extra smile, is central to all that the brand delivers on to shoppers. The innovative ad campaign, which is proving extremely popular amongst viewers and, crucially, Mace shoppers, is a contemporary take on Mace’s marketing legacy of ‘Going the Extra Smile’.
As inflationary pressures abound, the Mace Marketing team work closely with internal departments and Mace retailers to deliver on a strong value proposition for the brand and its shoppers.
In-store and digital campaigns to promote Mace’s healthy eating and exercise programme, Mace Right Options, featured Johnny in conversation with then Meath footballer Vikki Wall. Staying healthy has become more of a priority for today’s shopper, particularly since the pandemic. Mace has been supporting communities across Ireland for years now and the Mace Unsung Heroes Community Awards also fronted by Sexton lent to the brand’s popularity throughout 2022 as it gave consumers the opportunity to nominate an unsung hero in their local community, an initiative which particularly resonated with Mace shoppers.
Of particular note for Mace is our charity partnership with Down Syndrome Ireland, partners since 2017. A large number of Mace retailers showed their support for the charity by hosting unique Tour de Mace events this summer. These static cycles proved a hit with local shoppers and were a great way of not only raising much-needed funds for the charity but also help raise awareness for Down Syndrome Ireland.
Q: How are you working to support local Irish suppliers and deliver quality Irish produce for your retailers?
A: As one of Ireland’s largest wholesale and retail companies, BWG Foods has dedicated relationships with a significant number of Irish suppliers. Our commitment to Irish produce is a key strategic element of our buying and we have a strong track record of supporting Irish suppliers both large and small across the country through BWG’s partnership with independent Mace retailers.
Q: How would you sum up your main goals for the next 12 months?
A: Looking forward to the next 12 months, Mace has a very busy year ahead as we continue to roll out the new strategy and assist retailers to grow and evolve their businesses, while continuing to promote the friendly and welcoming shopping environment for which Mace is renowned. It is an increasingly challenging environment in which to operate and we will be rolling up our sleeves with a suite of programmes in place to continue to drive the Mace brand forward while helping our retailers keep a close eye on sales, margin and overheads within their stores.