China: Spar International has announced global sales growth of 5.5% in 2009 to 28.5bn. Much of the growth has been attributed to the success of Eurospar and Spar Hypermarket, its fastest-growing format, which accounts for 15% of retail sales. Spar South Africa was singled out for praise after increasing retail sales 14% to 3.8bn. Spar International MD Dr Gordon Campbell told delegates at the International Spar Congress in China, that the results were "excellent" in a difficult economic environment.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo plans to invest $2.5bn in China over the next three years to capitalise on the country's growing soft drinks market. Investment will be ploughed into new manufacturing facilities, research and development, expanded agricultural development and brand-building. Pepsi currently holds a 7.2% share of China's total soft drinks market, compared with Coca-Cola's 15.7%, according to Consumer Edge Research.

Belgium: French supermarket group Mestdagh is reported to be close to abandoning acquisition plans for 20 Carrefour stores in Belgium. Carrefour's ailing Belgian division has been hit by a series of one-day strikes since it announced plans in February to cut 1,672 jobs and close 21 stores by the end of June in an effort to fix the loss-making operation. Carrefour has said it hoped to sell 17 supermarkets and three hypermarkets to Mestdagh, which runs Champion stores in France.

Russia: X5, Russia's largest retailer, has reported a 36% increase in sales to $2,543m for the first quarter to 31 March. The group said growth was achieved despite weak consumer spending and "drastically" lower food inflation.

India: The Indian government is reported to be taking tentative steps towards a less restrictive retail sector. The commerce and industry ministry is believed to be about to issue a discussion paper on opening retail to foreign companies, which are currently restricted to wholesale. Global giants such as Walmart have argued for the lifting of restrictions to reduce supply chain inefficiencies.