Spar's worldwide retail sales grew by 4.5% last year as it focused on larger store formats and aggressive expansion into new territories.

Overall turnover for 2010 was 29.8bn and the fastest growth came from China, where sales rocketed 60% to 405m and sales area increased by 5.87 million sq ft.

The first Spar hypermarkets, in Beijing and Delhi, opened in September 2010 and in January this year, while the Eurospar format was rolled out to more countries in Europe.

The emphasis on larger formats led to a 7.5% increase in size for the average Spar store to 5,586 sq ft more than three times that of an average UK Spar store at 1,679 sq ft.

"The Spar hypermarket is now the fastest growing retail format in new and emerging markets, with 285 Interspar and Spar hypermarkets now producing 14.3% of worldwide retail sales," said Spar International MD Gordon Campbell.

"While aggressive global expansion has driven growth, a quick and flexible response to the financial crisis has also been a key factor in growing sales," he added.

Sales in Spar's biggest market, Austria, rose 4.5% to 5.13bn, while the UK's 3.09m turnover made it the company's fourth-­largest market.