Spar, the world’s largest voluntary food retail chain, has announced plans for significant growth in India which will see 25 Spar Hypermarket stores and an anticipated increasing its current workforce of 2,500 across the country to 3,300 by the end of 2017. The announcement was made during the visit of the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, along with a high-level Dutch Trade delegation, to a Spar Hypermarket in New Delhi. Together with the Prime Minister, the Dutch delegation included Minister for Agriculture, Sharon Dijksma and Dutch Ambassador to India, Nepal & Bhutan, Alphonsus Stoelinga.
Netherlands-based Spar International recently reported 2014 global retail sales of €31.9bn from 12,300 stores in 40 countries. Spar nternational unites and works in partnership with independent retailers by working together to share global scale and expertise to enhance the competiveness of its retail partners worldwide and build the Spar brand internationally. In emerging markets such as in Asia, Spar has specialised in developing modern supply chains to enable the efficient movement of goods from local producers to the shop shelf. In India alone, the company now supports over 4,000 local vendors who supply food and merchandise to the growing Spar India network.
SPAR re-entered the Indian market last August following the signing of a partnership agreement with Max Hypermarkets. The partnership has already successfully re-launched 16 Spar Hypermarkets with an additional four openings planned for the remainder of 2015, all offering an extensive range of food and non-food, at competitive prices. It is anticipated that SPAR India will reach €300million turnover by 2019.
Speaking during his visit the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, said, “Our trade mission to India is designed to share knowledge, forge partnerships and encourage co-operation between Dutch and Indian companies. It is greatly encouraging to see a company like SPAR, which started as a partnership of Dutch retailers and wholesalers more than 80 years ago, now active in India as well as 40 other countries around the world.”
Spar International managing director, Gordon Campbell said: “Our growth and success in India provides an ideal case study for the suitability of the Spar model in emerging markets. Where other global brands have struggled to gain traction, Spar’s brand values and offering, global expertise and partnership model, have brought immediate benefits for retailer, supplier and, ultimately, the consumer.”
“We are delighted to welcome Prime Minister Rutte, Minister Dijksma and Ambassador Stoelinga to our Flagship Spar Hypermarket in India. The visit is a great honour for Spar International and Spar India and recognises our achievement in growing from a partnership of retailers and wholesalers in the Netherlands to a global retail organisation with operations in 40 countries.”
Viney Singh, managing director of Spar India, said, “We are delighted with the results since we converted our first 16 hypermarkets to the Spar brand. Spar’s understanding of international best practice in retail operations and supply chain management, combined with our consumer understanding and local sourcing strengths have created an immediate uplift in store sales. The Spar brand propositions of freshness and value have been very well received by the Indian consumer.”
During the store visit the Dutch Trade delegation were given an insight into how, as part of its growth strategy in emerging markets, Spar supports and encourages local producers and growers to provide sustainable product solutions for customers.
Campbell concluded, “We already work closely with Dutch Government agencies in securing funding and technical assistance for the development of rural retail hubs in South Africa linking Spar stores to local growers in their region. Our aim would be to extend this partnership approach to other developing regions, including India, into the future.”
Spar International’s multi-format strategy has successfully led to a growing presence of over 12,300 hypermarket, supermarket, neighbourhood and convenience stores worldwide that meet the needs of 13m customers every day.