spar trolleys

Spar International has recorded its strongest growth for five years with sales up 3.5% to €33bn in 2015.

A key contributor to the success was recovery and growth in its traditional European markets, it said.

Spar UK increased store numbers to over 2,600 with turnover up 2% to £2.6bn. Elsewhere sales in Spar Austria were up 2.4%, Spar Belgium by 6% and Spar Hungary by 2.9%.

Additionally, the brand continued its expansion in emerging markets. Growth was particularly strong in Africa, while it entered four new countries on four continents including opening stores in Indonesia, Cameroon, Oman and Azerbaijan.

Managing director Tobias Wasmuht said the results to 31 December 2015 showed the strength and appeal of the Spar brand.

“With a presence now in 42 markets around the world, Spar continues to be the partner of choice for independent retail partners keen to embrace retail best practice and fast-track their development in the face of international competition,” he said.

Spar now has an estate of 12,100 stores including hypermarket, supermarket, neighbourhood and convenience store formats with 13 million customers.

“The continuing growth of the brand in new and emerging markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as the quickening pace of recovery in many of our traditional European markets, is testament to both the adaptability of the Spar brand and the entrepreneurial drive of our retail partners,” Wasmuht said.

“The last five years has seen Spar continue to grow despite volatile international economic conditions. This sustained growth has been achieved by meeting the needs of the local communities we serve with a commitment to deliver excellence in fresh, a passion for quality and best-in-class customer service. It is very pleasing to see this focus and investment paying dividends.”

Wasmuht said the year ahead looked promising. With recovery in Europe continuing and untapped potential in emerging markets there was significant potential for yet more growth both short and long term.

“As part of our future strategy we shall continue to drive forward into significant new and high-potential markets during 2016, having already in place partnerships that will see the Spar brand grow in Asia and Africa in the second half of the year.”

In addition to successes in its European market, Central and Eastern European markets showed strong growth with Spar Croatia sales up 15% and Spar Poland up 17%, with both increasing store size significantly. Spar Russia reported a 19.2% increase in local currency.

In Asia, Spar launched in Indonesia, opening 15 stores in nine months. In China, the franchise’s sales were up 6.8% to €1.9bn while it reported rapid growth of Spar India after re-entering the market in 2014.

Spar now has a presence in 12 African markets, accounting for 17% of its global retail turnover. Spar South Africa had strong growth, up 18%, with potential identified in Nigeria and Namibia, the business said.

In the Middle East, it opened its first stores in Oman, and 13 stores in the UAE.