Germany's Spar Handels is pressing on with plans to convert its loss making Eurospar supermarkets to the more successful Intermarche brand of its parent company after posting a dismal set of third quarter results. Spar did not reveal the extent of its losses, but a spokeswoman confirmed the group was "not expecting to return to profitability until 2002". Sales were down 3% at DM9.4bn (£2.93bn). The 30 stores rebranded to date have a strong fresh food offering and a market store format generating turnover "already exceeding expectations". Each store is slightly different, with designs and ranges reflecting regional variations, the spokeswoman explained: "We tailor each store to its locality." Following the success of the first conversions, Spar will now convert 160 stores next year, with a further 160 to follow in 2002. Despite launching with tremendous fanfares in 1998, the company's online home shopping service Einkauf 24 is still regarded very much as a "trial". Available to customers in Munich, Berlin and Hamburg with orders fulfilled from stores and picking centres, there are no concrete plans to expand the offering at present. Fulfilling the promised same day delivery for orders processed before 4pm was proving "more expensive than we thought", the spokeswoman added. {{NEWS }}

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