ZIMBABWE: Spar International has opened Spar Express stores in two suburbs of Harare. The new stores have created more than 600 jobs at retail level and in Spar's Eastern region distribution centre. Spar has opened 12 stores in the past 18 months in Zimbabwe and plans to open another 10 by June.

AMSTERDAM: Heineken has reported a strong rise in full-year profits on the back of cost-saving initiatives but has given a cautious outlook for 2011. Earnings before interest and tax rose 41% to 2.5bn versus 1.7bn the previous year. "Although we expect an improving economic environ­ment in Europe and the USA in 2011, austerity measures and high unemployment is expected to result in continued cautious consumer behaviour," the brewer said.

FRANCE: Danone posted a 6.9% increase in fourth-quarter sales and has revealed it expects 2011 sales growth of 6% to 8%. The dairy giant forecast a 6% to 9% increase in raw material and packaging costs this year but gave an upbeat outlook, saying it would draw on its experience of 2010 to manage the hikes.

"We anticipate no major change in consumer demand and are placing the emphasis on lasting development of our brands, with a commitment to health, eating pleasure and the environment," said chairman Franck Riboud.

AUSTRALIA: Foster's Group has confirmed it is to split into two independent entities: Treasury Wine Estates and Foster's, which will incorporate Carlton & United Breweries and International Beer. John Pollaers will head the beer unit, while David Dearie will head the wine division following the demerger, which is expected to complete in May subject to shareholder and court approvals. The news came as Foster's reported a 7.5% fall in net profits to AUS$335.7m in the six months to December.

US: Walmart has named Cindy Davis executive vice president of global consumer insights. She will lead a new team that will help Walmart and Sam's Club understand consumer trends, provide insight into customers' needs and create advanced analytical tools.