Baltic Food, which owns the Spar franchise in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, went into liquidation in December. Spar International deputy general manager Gerrit Kok said Selvaag ­ a major shareholder in Baltic Food ­ has promised to put in the necessary funds to make a fresh start in Lithuania, which has 15 Spar stores. However, Spar is still working with the liquidator to find companies interested in taking on the franchise in Estonia and Latvia, where Baltic Food owns about 55 Spar, Interspar and Eurospar stores. Spar International was also holding discussions with regional wholesalers in Russia interested in becoming Spar licensees, said Kok. Spar has so far issued licences to Spar Retail in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod based Sladkaya Zhizn to build the Spar brand in the regions. Kok said further tie ups were likely as the Russian wholesale market is very fragmented. Spar Retail opened its third store in Moscow earlier this month and Sladkaya Zhizn is preparing to open its first Eurospar outside Moscow shortly. Kok said he envisaged licensees would collaborate on certain areas to maintain uniform standards and save money: "Although we will have a series of local operators and networks, we will see joint purchasing for Spar branded products, and central co-ordination on things like store design, marketing and promotions." {{NEWS }}