SPAR launched in four new countries, now operates over 13,112 stores in 48 countries worldwide in its third year of strong growth.
The world’s largest voluntary food retail chain, SPAR International, reported another exceptionally strong year in 2018 with global retail sales of €35.8 billion for the year ending December 31st 2018, representing an increase of 5.4% on a constant currency basis. The results were announced at the 64th International SPAR Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
2018 saw a year-on-year increase of 335 additional stores, bringing the total number to 13,112 SPAR stores in 48 countries worldwide, including entry into four new countries, equating to over 7.4 million square metres of sales area across all SPAR formats. The diversity of formats, expertly tailored to suit each market, along with SPAR’s inherent customer-centric focus which evolves as modern retail and supply chain technology solutions are adopted, all contributed to SPAR’s ongoing strong retail performance.
Regional performance highlights during the year:
- In the 16 Western European markets where SPAR has a presence, sales grew by 4.1% to €22.1 billion from a total of 9,680 stores. SPAR Austria achieved sales of €6.88 billion and growth of 4%, making it the fastest growing supermarket chain in the country for the ninth year in a row. SPAR Netherlands achieved exceptional growth of 15.8%, while SPAR Belgium grew by 5.1%, SPAR France by 5.5% and SPAR Spain by 6.1%.
- Central and Eastern Europe was the regional growth leader for SPAR worldwide for the second year in a row with 15.8% growth across the region’s 10 SPAR countries, generating combined sales of €5.8 billion. SPAR Hungary delivered an exceptionally strong performance with growth of 9.8% – exceeding €1.9 billion in sales.
- SPAR Russia’s outstanding performance of 27.8% growth in local currency delivered €2 billion in sales, driven by local expertise and understanding of customers’ needs and expectations, tailoring its offering accordingly and harnessing the EUROSPAR and INTERSPAR formats very effectively.
- In Africa & the Middle East, where SPAR has an established presence in 15 countries, the brand maintained strong growth of 8.2% to achieve regional turnover of €5.9 billion. SPAR South Africa’s turnover grew to €4.9 billion, an increase of 5.7% at constant 2018 exchange rates for the full calendar year.
- In the Middle East, SPAR is one of the fastest growing retail brands in the region and now has a presence in four of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Sales from the four markets totalled €226 million with all partners projecting good growth for the coming year through expansion.
- The SPAR brand is present in seven Asia Pacific countries, with €1.96 billion in sales achieved from 573 stores. SPAR Sri Lanka launched in this market early in the year. SPAR China’s footprint in 2018 accounted for 830,043m² and sales of €1.5 billion, with particularly strong growth in the Shandong and Guangdong provinces. SPAR India ramped up expansion with the opening of six hypermarkets in 2018 and sales growth of 24.5% to €179 million. SPAR Thailand expanded to 45 stores and recorded a sales growth of 96.2%.
Commenting on the results, Tobias Wasmuht, CEO of SPAR International said: “Our strong network of SPAR Partners and supply chains across four continents gives the brand a competitive advantage in an increasingly global marketplace, while our multi-format strategy allows us to respond to changing customer needs.
“Our continuous compound annual growth of 5.2% over the last three years creates a strong platform to build from for the future and indicates that our ‘Better Together’ strategy, launched in 2016, continues to deliver for the organisation, our partners and our customers.
“In Western Europe, where we have almost 8,000 neighbourhood and proximity stores, SPAR is well placed for future growth with large scale store modernisation projects ensuring continued standards of excellence. In Austria and the territories under the ownership of Austrian SPAR International AG (ASPIAG), an investment of over €660 million in expansion has included the development of a new generation of compact and fresh-centric INTERSPAR Hypermarkets, which are setting a benchmark for our SPAR retailers worldwide.
“In Asia, SPAR China is set to open over 150,000m2 of retail sales space in 2019 with strong store development plans including compact hypermarkets and a new generation of supermarkets in Northern and Southern China. With new SPAR Partner licence agreements signed at the end of 2018, Russia will also continue to experience store expansion and sales growth.
“A further two new licence agreements have also been agreed for the expansion of the brand in Central and Eastern Europe. And looking to the future and further afield, plans are at an advanced stage for the expansion of SPAR in South and Central America.”
Tobias Wasmuht concluded that as a result of SPAR’s ‘Better Together’ strategy, the brand has made good progress in the area of international joint buying and procurement. “Our strategic objective,” he said, “is to accelerate this progress by further harnessing our international scale, pooling our global resources to reap economies of scale in all areas of our business and uniting our global partners to be and act better together.”
Read about all 48 markets, the ‘better together’ strategy, and the brand’s future outlook in the 2018 International SPAR Annual Report which is available here.