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Spar sets up shop online

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Grocery chain Spar joined the e-tail movement this week with the low-key launch of Spar Online, the company's Internet shopping venture.

Run in collaboration with MegaShopper, the site currently services three areas - two in KwaZulu-Natal and one in Gauteng - with its order-and-fetch or delivery options, but has plans for the Eastern and Western Cape in the next two months.

Kinty Peetz, Spar Online co-ordinator, says the self-collect option offered by the company differentiates Spar Online from other online retailers.

"Consumers can place their orders and collect it themselves. We did this because we are well aware that it is not always convenient for people to be at home at the time of delivery."

Spar Online customers have a choice of placing their order and collecting their groceries from one of the three stores, or having orders delivered for R35 within a 15km radius of the selected store. Orders placed before noon will be delivered on the same day.

Stores currently serviced by the Spar Online site are Broadacres in Fourways, Johannesburg, and stores in Umhlanga Rocks and Pinetown in KwaZulu-Natal. Roll-out plans, according to Peetz, include stores in Benoni, Pretoria and Linwood during July, two more in Cape Town by August and stores in the Eastern Cape during August.

Explaining the decision to set up shop online, Peetz says: "We have long felt the need to extend our stores into the virtual world. We always felt that we had a good offering ... and we felt the online world was the way to go."

Peetz says the company was already in the planning stages of establishing an online presence when approached by MegaShopper.

"MegaShopper pioneered online shopping and they already had the infrastructure ... and we were looking for an online partner."

She adds that the three stores that are now part of Spar Online had already signed up with MegaShopper and were trading through the site, so they were easily incorporated into Spar Online.

Spar Online can be found at www.sparonline.co.za and online shoppers already registered with MegaShopper can use their existing usernames and passwords to access the Spar Online site.

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