SPAR, INDIA: Spar has entered the Indian market with a 20,000 sq ft supermarket in the city of Hyderabad. Spar will operate under a licence agreement with Landmark Group’s Indian subsidiary, Max Hypermarkets, which will be responsible for the business operation, while Spar will provide technical expertise and retailing know-how. As well as food and drink, the store will sell kitchen appliances, utensils, IT accessories and home textiles.

WAL-MART, USA: Barack Obama and John McCain have recorded videos for Wal-Mart’s website to communicate their views to ‘Wal-Mart mom’, the all-American typical voter both candidates are fighting to win over. It is seen as a strategy key to victory in the forthcoming presidential election as Wal-Mart has 136 million weekly shoppers.

“We’re pleased to offer Senator Obama and Senator McCain the opportunity to speak directly to Wal-Mart mom,” said Leslie Dach, executive vice president of corporate affairs and government relations.

METRO, GERMANY: Metro has taken on more than 3,000 apprentices for the fifth consecutive year as it continues its recruitment and training programme. Despite the economic downturn, Metro said it was not scaling back recruitment.

“Companies must take steps at securing the future of their workforces,” said Zygmunt Mierdorf, executive vice president of HR. “The qualified training of young people becomes a critical factor in a company’s future performance potential and competitiveness.” Last year, more than 96% of trainees passed the German chambers of commerce occupational exams, which form part of the apprenticeships, said Metro.

WHOLE FOODS MARKET, US: Shares in Whole Foods Market hit a seven-year low this week after a Wall Street analyst downgraded the company to ‘underperform’. On Wednesday the company’s stock fell more than 9%, closing down $1.27 to $11.82. Jeffries & Co downgraded Whole Foods from ‘buy’ after citing an increased difficulty for it to improve its performance in the worsening economic landscape.