SPAR countries across Western Europe most significant engine for growth in 2020, delivering 12% growth to reach €25.48 billion in retail turnover
The SPAR response to the COVID-19 pandemic shows “the collective strength of the SPAR organisation and the critical role of independent retailing in societies and communities across the globe” – Tobias Wasmuht, CEO
The world’s largest food retail voluntary chain, SPAR International, has reported sales of €39.8 billion for the year ending December 31st 2020, representing a 7.4% increase in revenue at constant currency values.
At the end of the year there were 13,501 SPAR branded stores operating across 48 markets worldwide in five regions. The brand continued its expansion into new markets launching in Ghana in 2020, with 10 new stores operational by the end of the year. Despite the challenges of operating through the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of SPAR countries reported strong growth. Tobias Wasmuht, CEO of SPAR International said: “The response to the COVID-19 pandemic succeeded in highlighting the collective strength of the SPAR worldwide organisation, the competitive advantages of the SPAR multi-format strategy and the critical role of independent retailing in societies and communities across the globe.”
Regional performance highlights during the year include:
- In the 16 Western European markets where SPAR has a presence, sales grew by an exceptional 12% to €25.48 billion, equating to 64% of SPAR’s global turnover. Highlights included SPAR Austria, who has once again proved to be a standout performer with a highly impressive revenue growth of 16% to record total sales of €8.3 billion, up €1.2 billion on 2019. SPAR Netherlands continued its second year of exceptional growth, with retail sales growing in 2020 by 23.5%. The turnover of SPAR Italy and SPAR Spain grew by 8.4% and 7.2%, respectively. The consistent theme of independent retailers excelling through the provision of neighbourhood retailing was seen through strong results in markets including SPAR UK (12%), SPAR Norway (12.5%), and SPAR Ireland (+10%).
- Continued expansion by the 11 SPAR countries operating across Central and Eastern Europe saw like-for-like sales increase by 8.9% on 2019, with SPAR Hungary reporting a sales growth of 9%. In Russia, the SPAR Brand continues to grow in strength and popularity with like-for-like sales of 6.8% driven by continued multi-format expansion. SPAR Poland sales grew by 12% and has plans for significant expansion in 2021. SPAR Slovenia and SPAR Hungary’s results highlight both the critical role that multi-format retailers played throughout the last year with online sales growing by 150% and 250% respectively. Independently owned and operated stores now account for over 35% of SPAR stores in Hungary.
- Across Africa and the Middle East, the SPAR Brand deepened its presence in 15 countries and continued its growth trajectory with sales of €6.2 billion – a 2.8% increase on 2019. SPAR South Africa reported sales of €5.22 billion. Other notable performers, in what have been sometimes tough trading conditions, were SPAR Cameroon (+15%), SPAR Mozambique (+14%), and SPAR Zimbabwe (+9.55%).
In the Middle East, SPAR’s performance was characterised by exceptional sales growth for SPAR Oman (+25%) and SPAR Qatar (82.5%). The UAE remains SPAR’s largest market in the region and grew by 2.1% in the year.
- As the region that first had to contend with the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, SPAR in Asia Pacific produced a solid performance of 1.5% growth over the year and €1.88 billion in retail turnover. SPAR China recorded retail sales of €1.55 billion and like-for-like annual sales growth of 7.9% in local currency. In Australia, SPAR produced revenue growth of 16.5%, with proximity and neighbourhood retailing proving a popular and winning format as communities shopped increasingly local. SPAR Pakistan and SPAR Sri Lanka continued their growth momentum by 38% and 63%, respectively.
Commenting on the 2020 results, Tobias Wasmuht, CEO of SPAR International said: “Last year was very much characterised by the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic and its severe consequences, but it was also a year which saw accelerated growth as a result of the dedication and focus of our highly committed SPAR colleagues across all parts of our global SPAR network. The terrible impact of the pandemic on a global scale and the rapid pace of its spread across multiple countries could not have been predicted and, as such, found us having to respond with great urgency and speed. However, crisis situations do invariably bring out the best in people and we at SPAR can be proud of the astounding selfless and brave response of the SPAR worldwide organisation.
“Our continuous compound annual growth of 5.64% in the period 2016-2020 creates a strong platform to build from for the future and indicates that our ‘Better Together’ strategy continues to deliver sustainable growth. Since 2016, this strategy has delivered SPAR global sales growth of 24.54%, global store footprint growth of 956 additional stores and a total retail sales area increase of 3%.
“Performance to date this year gives an indication of the key role SPAR stores have played as critical lifelines for local communities throughout the crisis. SPAR, as a leading global retailer, has a major responsibility and an essential function to fulfil. We worked hard throughout the year to maintain the supply of products to our stores, to make sure our stores were safe and secure, whilst also scaling up our online channels and helping the wider communities we support in large scale and innovative ways.”
Mr. Wasmuht added: “As we look to the future, we do so with confidence. SPAR has shown great resilience during the crisis of 2020 and has prospered and grown. With accelerated developments in retail and across our supply chain, we are well placed to build on this strong foundation. A key positive factor of the last year has been the benefits of close international cooperation wrought by new, remote ways of working. The advantages of this intensity of cooperation are beneficial to all in SPAR as we increasingly reap the benefits of our international presence and scale, whilst adding purposeful value to the local communities we serve.”