Spar International opens first store in Cameroon in Africa expansion

Spar International, the world’s largest voluntary retail chain, has announced plans to grow its footprint in Africa with confirmation that the brand has opened its first store in Cameroon, one week after opening a supermarket in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. The brand has seen a 10% increase in retail selling area in the last five years and now operates in 10 markets.

Located in Douala, Cameroon’s largest city, the new 2,500sq m Spar Supermarket was established with experienced local partner L’Atrium S.A, a joint venture between two family-owned companies Dee-lite Sarl and Groupe ARNO. The company already operates 17 retail stores in Douala and capital city Yaoundé, along with six distribution facilities across the country. Planning is already underway on the next three Spar sites in Cameroon including a Hypermarket in Yaoundé.

Spar International’s new partner in Malawi, People’s Trading Centre opened a 1,800sq m Spar branded store bringing international best practice in terms of retail innovation and store layout to the local retail market. People’s Trading Centre has plans to open up to 10 new Spar  stores in Malawi over the next 5 years.

Spar International managing director, Gordon Campbell, said “Five years ago we identified the major potential for growth of the Spar brand in Africa. Building strong partnerships, sharing international best practice and adhering to the Spar principles of focusing on freshness, quality, choice and customer service has meant that Spar is now at the cutting edge of retail in the region. Spar South Africa has been a key enabler of this expansion and has made a major contribution to the success across the African continent, sharing best practice and experience with new partners.

“Our partnership approach, as well as the flexibility and adaptability of our brand, has resulted in an offer that can meet the various needs of the modern African consumer. Recent developments in Cameroon and Malawi are an example of how success can breed success in Spar with established partners contributing their knowledge and expertise to make new market entry a great success.”

In addition to expansion in Cameroon and Malawi, Spar has also grown its footprint in Nigeria with the opening of a new flagship store in Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, following the highly successful hypermarket opening in Port Harcourt. Spar Nigeria now operates seven stores and has become the first retail chain in Nigeria to offer a shopper loyalty programme that provides customers with exclusive offers and great value for money.

Spar International supported the opening of the flagship stores in Cameroon and Malawi with extensive retail design, training and supplying a wide range Spar private label products. Access to best practice to support development and further expansion is supported by Spar International and existing Spar partners.

Earlier this year, Spar International announced that Campbell will be retiring as CEO of Spar International at the end of 2015 after over two decades in the role. Tobias Wasmuht, managing director Spar China and head of marketing and retail Spar International and will take up his position on the 1 January 2016.