Debbie Robinson, a former executive at The Co-operative Group, has been appointed managing director of Spar UK, the symbol retailer announced today (14 March).

Robinson, who replaces Jerry Marwood, will takeover as MD at the end of the summer.

She is currently JJB Sports marketing director, a post she has held for six months. Previously, Robinson served as director of food marketing at the Co-operative, where she developed the company’s “good with food” advertising campaign.

Commenting on her appointment, Robinson said she was “delighted” to be joining a “fantastic business” with a “regional structure that is ideally suited to today’s customer needs”.

“My priority will be to continue to drive the Spar brand forward increasing its relevance with customers and developing the offer to drive sales and profit,” she said.

Spar added that retail sales for the nine months to the end of January have been “solid” but also acknowledged the “challenging” economic climate in an increasingly competitive convenience sector, with these factors expected to weight “well into” 2012.

Retail sales rose by 1.7% year-on-year as retailers are focusing on increasing the value and volume of promotions. Spar own label lines saw sales rise by 6.59%, the group added.

Full-year results are expected in July.