Spar International is launching its first cross-border advertising campaign spanning 12 countries in the autumn. Speaking at the 47th annual Spar Congress in Athens, Spar International md Gordon Campbell said the project was of "enormous strategic importance. The objective is to create a high quality advertisement that will drive home a strong, consistent international Spar brand image." Spar was slowly spreading across the globe, he said, with moves into Croatia, Cyprus and "several other countries" planned for next year. Although Germany and Japan continued to struggle in 2001, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Slovenia put in strong performances and worldwide retail sales from Spar outlets in more than 30 countries topped £26bn. Sales and gross profit at flagship Eurospar stores in Austria and Denmark were running "substantially ahead of target," added Campbell. Spar International deputy general manager Gerrit Kok said Russia represented a major growth opportunity, with up to 30 Eurospars planned in the next three years and a project under way to look at developing Interspar hypermarkets in Moscow. Spar has issued licences to Spar Retail in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod-based Sladkaya Zhizn. {{NEWS }}