SPAR International has released its 2016 results, reporting that sales increased by 4.5% to €33.1bn. The retailer, which has a presence in 44 countries, stated that record performance ‘was driven by a combination of like-for-like organic growth, successful acquisitions and new country expansion’.
Regional performance breakdown
In Western Europe, which accounts for the largest share of sales, performance increased by 4.8% to €15bn. SPAR recognised UK performance as a key highlight, stating that despite 'the economic and political uncertainty of Brexit, SPAR in the UK had record results, adding 186 net new stores and growing by £223m, an increase of 8.5% in local currency'.
In Central and Eastern Europe, sales grew by 6.1%, with particularly strong results in Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Russia.
Elsewhere, in the Middle East & Africa, SPAR is present in 15 countries across the region. Performance was driven by SPAR South Africa, where sales increased by 8.3%. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the UAE and Oman grew 'by 50% and 192% respectively'.
In Asia, sales grew by 6.7% in local currencies. The retailer now has a presence in six markets, while 'growth in China was driven by the development of hypermarkets in cities as well as the launch of world class convenience stores in the urban centres of the seven provinces of China where SPAR has a presence'. During the year, store numbers in the market also increased by 14% to 395 stores.
Highlights: market entries and more to come
SPAR entered new countries during 2016 including Albania in partnership with the country's 'largest privately-owned business conglomerate, the Balfin Group, which resulted in the conversion of former Carrefour stores to INTERSPAR Hypermarkets and SPAR Supermarkets'.
Elsewhere SPAR Thailand launched, in partnership with the Bangchak Corporation. Here, there will be a focus on forecourts and standalone stores. ‘The first seven SPAR Express stores opened in the Greater Bangkok area in November’, while 'plans are in place to open 300 SPAR stores in Thailand by the end of 2020'.
In the future, SPAR plans to enter 'at least six new territories in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East'.
New ‘Better Together’ strategy introduced
During 2016, SPAR International launched its ‘Better Together’ strategy in the face of 'an ever changing world faced with unpredictable financial, political and environmental challenges … Through working better together, we can harness our shared scale and the resources of our large global network. Leveraging this scale also enables us to generate value in the form of productivity gains and cost savings. In turn, this value generation is reinvested into greater centralised resources to provide a great scope of services to our partners, allowing us to improve their competitiveness'.