SPAR continues to grow in China

RetailME Bureau

Dutch food retailer SPAR International and Yunnan Anning Jinfang Commercial Group (Jinfang) have announced a new partnership agreement authorising Jinfang to grow the SPAR brand in southeast China across Yunnan Province, Liu Pan Shui City, Bijie City, Buyi and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, and Anshun City in Guizhou Province.

Jinfang will invest in converting 32 stores to the SPAR brand in the coming months, bringing together the best of SPAR’s global retail expertise and Jinfang’s deep understanding of the local customer. The 2,550 employees currently working in the chain’s hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores will benefit from access to the retail training academy of SPAR China.

The announcement marks an exceptional 12 months for SPAR in China. In 2016, sales grew by 6.7% to 14.5 billion RMB, with SPAR China continuing its expansion in a maturing food retail sector. Store numbers increased by 14% to 395 and SPAR China added 472,730 sqft of selling area.

In December, Jiajiayue Group, which was SPAR’s first Chinese retail partner, launched an initial public offering (IPO) on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The fund raised from the IPO will be used to strengthen and develop the business further investing in technology and the supply chain infrastructure.

Today, 14% of the total selling area of SPAR worldwide is in China and SPAR China has partners building the brand’s presence in Shandong, Guangdong, Shanxi & Inner Mongolia, Beijing, Sichuan, Henan, Zhangjiakou and now Yunnan.

SPAR International’s growth in China has been driven by investment in a multi-channel supply chain, development of hypermarkets, launch of world-class convenience stores in tier 2 and 3 urban centres and a strategic emphasis on fresh food through initiatives like the development of a new, state-of-the-art bakery production facility. Add to that on-going development in retailing via online channels including the popular WeChat and Weibo platforms in addition to web sales.

SPAR is working closely with Jinfang on the first SPAR Supermarket design, while an expert international logistics team from SPAR International and SPAR China are supporting Jinfang in the development of a modern warehouse.

“Since entering into China in 2004, SPAR has worked closely with partners to accelerate the growth of their food retail business through our standardisation methods, latest store design, modern supply chain expertise and improved shopping experience,” says Tobias Wasmuht, managing director, SPAR International. “The strong growth figures demonstrate that the ‘Better Together’ strategy is delivering for our partners. The partnership with Jinfang represents a further, exciting development in the growth of SPAR in China.”

“Our new partnership with Jinfang is consistent with SPAR China’s strategic focus on accelerating expansion and growing presence. Together we unite the best of SPAR’s global retail expertise and Jinfang’s extensive and longstanding understanding of the local customer to grow SPAR presence in southeast of China,” adds Wang Peihuan, chairman, SPAR China.

“Jinfang has followed SPAR’s progress since SPAR entered into China in 2004, and has seen the great success achieved by SPAR China and its partners. SPAR and Jinfang share key values in many areas. In order to serve customers in the southeast of China better, we plan to bring high operation standards, efficient logistics and a modern supply chain to build diverse retail solutions,” states Li Jia, chairman of the board, Yunnan Jinfang Group.