Spar International opens in Belarus and plans 60 stores by 2020

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Spar, the world’s largest voluntary food retail chain, is delighted to launch the brand in Belarus, partnering with Almi Group, whose subsidiary Unifood CJSC will operate the Spar brand in the market. Almi Group employs 5,000 people, serves over 140,000 customers daily through their retail network and currently are the second largest retailer in the market. Spar has announced the intention to operate 60 new Spar stores by the end of 2020.

Spar Belarus: new market entry

The Spar Partner in Belarus will access the globally renowned Spar brand, building on their strong position in the market, providing shoppers with international best practice adapted to local needs. Currently, the ALMI Group operates 43 stores in four formats under the brand names ALMI and ZAKRAMA, which are well known to local shoppers. Established in 1932, Spar has over 12,500 stores in 46 countries and reported sales of €33.1bn for 2016.

The partnership was launched at an official opening of the first Spar Supermarket in the capital city of Minsk. The 370sq m neighbourhood supermarket offers customers a great retail experience with its emphasis on fresh food, including a wide range of fruits and vegetables, fresh meat and an instore bakery. The entire development of the neighbourhood supermarket offer has been built on the international best practice which Spar International has shared with the local partner, setting the benchmark for future growth of the Spar brand in the market.

International is providing expertise through retail design, staff training, supply chain review, retail location assessment, project management and brand building marketing campaigns. This access to international best practice will be combined with local expertise to provide independent retailers with a full package of solutions and tools to enable them to thrive and survive in a competitive market.

The high-quality retail stores which are being developed will offer great value and lots of choice, comprising a strong mix of fresh and dry goods. Spar will also be supporting the extensive Almi Group range of own brands with global Own Brand products from the exclusive Spar range. In addition, Spar International will be working with the Spar Supermarkets.

The Spar Partner in Belarus has a long-term ambition to grow the retail offer in the market and have aggressive expansion plans, including store openings in the cities of Minsk, Grodno, Gomel, Brest and their respective regions.

Speaking about the announcement Tobias Wasmuht, managing director of Spar International said “We are delighted to partner with the Almi group to launch Spar together in Belarus. Our teams have worked closely together to ensure the transfer of our tried and tested Spar retail formats and international best practice. We are confident that the Almi Group share Spar’s commitment to freshness, quality, choice and excellence in customer service which is also shared by our partners in 46 countries around the world. We are confident this partnership will deliver value for our customers, our partners, the Almi Group, and Spar International.”

Dmitry Podlipsky, CEO of Unifood CJSC, partner operating Spar in Belarus, said “This is a young partnership but to date, we have learnt a lot from Spar International’s expertise and the global best practice from the Spar family across 46 countries. We are excited to harness our knowledge and experience to launch the Spar brand into the Belarusian market.”