SPAR International, the world’s largest food retail voluntary chain, has seen strong, continued growth with retail sales announced today of €34.5 billion for the year ending December 31st 2017. The results, which represent a year-on-year increase in retail sales of 5.3% on a constant currency basis, were announced at the 63rd International SPAR Congress in Bangalore, India. SPAR is now operating over 12,700 stores across 48 countries worldwide.
Performance highlights during the year include:
- A year-on-year increase of 232 additional stores, bringing the total number to 12,777 stores globally equating to over 7.4m2 of sales area across all SPAR formats.
- SPAR maintained its ongoing strategic focus on growth and international expansion and now operates across 48 countries worldwide. In 2017 SPAR was launched in five new countries – Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar, Ukraine and Belarus.
- In the Eurozone SPAR recorded sales of €16.2 billion, an increase of 4% on 2016. SPAR Austria’s €650 million investment reaped rewards with a recorded domestic growth of 4.4% in 2017. Other standout performances include SPAR Netherlands (+7.7%), SPAR Spain (+5.5%) and SPAR Ireland (+4.8%). SPAR UK’s retail sales grew to €3.2 billion a 4% increase in local currency equivalent.
- Central and Eastern Europe had an outstanding year growing 17% to combined sales of €5.2 billion. A key highlight was the 59% growth in sales of SPAR in Croatia as a consequence of the acquisition of the Billa store network in the country. SPAR Hungary also saw strong growth in retail sales of 8.8% in constant local currency equivalent.
- In Russia, SPAR continues to win market share both with strong like-for-like growth as well as overall year-on-year increase of 18.8%.
- In Africa and the Middle East SPAR grew its presence in 15 countries, recording strong growth of 8.5%, to achieve a consolidated regional turnover of €5.7 billion. In 2017, SPAR South Africa increased its turnover by 7%, to €4.83 billion in constant currency values.
- SPAR now has a presence in six countries in the Asia Pacific region. SPAR China is expanding by transferring international best practice and multi-format stores in major cities of Southern and Northern China and the total number of stores grew to 408. SPAR Thailand is now firmly established in the market with over 30 stores opened in its first year of operation and SPAR Australia had an exceptional year of growth with sales growing by 14% in 2017.
Speaking on the publication of the 2017 results, Tobias Wasmuht, CEO of SPAR International said: “2017 was an extraordinary year of growth for SPAR Worldwide, with sustained growth across all 48 markets where SPAR operates. Our strategy launched in 2016 entitled ‘SPAR: Better Together’, is showing strong signs of benefitting our SPAR country operations internationally, as we reap the significant economies of scale and synergies of our growing international presence and expansion. Over a two year period we have added 600 new stores and 500,000 m² of sales area and as a consequence have grown by €3.2 billion in revenue.
“A key focus throughout 2017 has been to grow our presence through targeted expansion, and to drive retail development through expanding our multi-format retail strategy. Operationally we are stronger as a result of investments in the supply chain and are generating more value through better buying and leveraging our growing scale in procurement.
“In Europe, pan-European trends of smaller households, aging populations and urbanisation have contributed to a growth in smaller store format channels. We are witnessing a renaissance in modern neighbourhood retailing across the continent and the channel is continuing to grow in strength and importance.”
Increasingly we are seeing global trends of health and wellness becoming the new norm as highlighted by the fast roll out of the award-winning SPAR Natural concept in Spain, Italy, Russia, Middle East, South Africa and India.
“A further commonality across SPAR Worldwide in 2017 was the investment of SPAR on a major scale in responsible retailing. Our commitments and initiatives across the world, whilst tailored to community specific needs, are strongly focused on health, community, the environment and sourcing responsibly.”
Tobias Wasmuht concluded “SPAR’s ability to take a tailored approach to individual markets – be it adapting and evolving in existing markets or seamlessly integrating into new markets – sets it apart in the retail space. SPAR is increasingly attractive to regional retailers who seek to benefit from the scale and agility of SPAR to fast track their development in the face of growing international competition. The outlook for 2018 and beyond is positive. As SPAR grows internationally we create a continuous cycle of reinvesting that growth in resources which in turn makes us stronger and better together.”