Hypermarkets fuel Spar International’s growth

Hypermarkets, like this store in Austria, are driving Spar’s growth

Hypermarkets and Eurospar stores have fueled growth at Spar International, which has reported worldwide sales up 5.5% to €28.5bn in 2009.

Announcing the results at the 55th Annual Spar International Congress in China, Gordon Campbell, managing director of Spar International, said it was an excellent result in a difficult economic environment.

“Our fastest growing format is the Spar hypermarket,” said Campbell. “We now have 274 hypermarkets worldwide, which account for 15% of retail sales.

“Our largest Spar supermarket format, Eurospar, has also had a highly successful year, having been strong for many years in Austria, Italy and Spain and as Superspar in South Africa,” he said.

Campbell said the Eurospar format has also contributed to increased sales and market share in Ireland, Belgium, Norway and Switzerland since its launch. More recently, Eurospar has been introduced to mainland UK and Denmark. Spar opened 18 stores in Denmark in one day in April 2010.

Campbell’s said Spar’s total sales area is now in excess of 6m sq m.

A number of countries saw exceptional results in 2009:

In South Africa, Spar continued its strong year-on-year growth with retail sales increasing by 14% and hitting the €3.8bn mark.

The Spar Austria Group recorded €11.3bn in sales, including shopping centres, with Spar Austria achieving sales of almost €5bn in a highly competitive market.

In the UK sales increased by 2% to €3bn.

Spar Denmark enjoyed a sales increase of 23% in 2009 following the acquisition and integration of 73 stores into the Spar stable. The introduction of Eurospar format to Denmark is poised to further strengthen the Spar brand in 2010, said the company.

Spar increased its store numbers in Russia to 210 in 2009 and retail sales exceeded €640m. Spar said this was a particularly strong result against the background of the crisis in Russia and the devaluation of the rouble against the Euro.

Spar said it is building on last year’s strong growth with new developments in 2010 including entry into Vietnam.

Spar is partnering with wholesale distribution business Phui Thai Group to open 26 Spar supermarkets and larger format stores over the next two years in Vietnam, its 34th member country.

“We are extremely excited to be entering Vietnam for the first time and expanding our member countries,” said Campbell.

“In 2009 consumers were increasingly shopping around for bargains, trading down to lower priced products by changing brands, purchasing more promotional items and buying more private label products,” explained Campbell. “All of this required an immediate tactical response and Spar responded swiftly to improve our value offer by strengthening promotions and lowering prices.

“Spar own label ranges were expanded and discount ranges were introduced, which played a major role in enabling Spar to deliver value to the consumer and to remain highly competitive during the recession.

“All of this activity helped to mitigate the effects of the recession for our customers,” said Campbell.

Representatives from all 33 Spar countries attended the 55th International Spar Congress in Dongguan City, China, 2526 May 2010. More than 270 delegates represented the worldwide Spar organisation from four continents and 12,100 stores.

Spar’s Congress was hosted in Dongguan City, China, home to the award-winning Spar Hongtu store