Global food retail chain, SPAR International has recorded strong growth in the Middle East in 2019. SPAR Saudi Arabia had a stand-out year recording growth of 57% year-on-year driven by increased footfall in existing stores, as well as the launch of smaller format SPAR and SPAR Express stores. SPAR UAE achieved a key milestone with the expansion of the SPAR brand to Dubai.
In Africa & the Middle East, where the brand has a presence across 14 countries, SPAR maintained its growth trajectory with sales of €6.06 billion, a 5.26% increase on 2018. SPAR South Africa posted a 7% year-on-year growth, with sales of €5.09 billion. More than 60% of total revenue in 2019 came from the larger format SUPERSPAR stores. Other notable performers, in what are sometimes tough and volatile trading conditions, were SPAR Mozambique (+34%), SPAR Nigeria (+10%) and SPAR Botswana (+12%).
Overall, SPAR International reported sales of €37.1 billion for the year ending December 31, 2019, representing a 4.35% increase in revenue on a constant currency basis.
At the end of 2019, there were 13,320 SPAR branded stores operating across 48 markets worldwide in four continents, an increase of 208 stores over the previous year. Consistent expansion has seen over 1,200 new stores added to the SPAR global network in the last four years. The brand was launched in two new markets in 2019, Kosovo and Armenia, further strengthening the brand in Central and Eastern Europe – one of the key growth regions for SPAR in recent years.
“Our continuous compound annual growth of 4.4% over the last five years creates a strong platform to build from for the future and indicates that our ‘Better Together’ strategy continues to deliver sustainable growth. Since its launch in 2015, this strategy has delivered SPAR global sales growth of 21.4%, global store footprint growth of over 1,200 additional stores and a total retail sales area increase of 7%,” said Tobias Wasmuht, CEO of SPAR International.
Commenting on SPAR’s performance during the first four months of 2020 and the impact of COVID-19, he added, “From our unique vantage point as a global retailer, we had the ability to track the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the retail sector from East to West; and to share SPAR’s best practice approach to ensuring the safety of SPAR colleagues and customers around the world. The crisis has shown the true strength of the SPAR network. As a group, we have worked tirelessly to ensure consistency of supply for the hundreds of thousands of our colleagues who continued to meet the needs of the communities they serve.”
“The strong performance of neighbourhood retailing during the outbreak and the importance our customers place in proximity and local retailing will continue to strengthen, as will our continued roll out of online retail in the new ‘low-touch’ economy. Economic impact, consumer confidence and the negative impact on household incomes will see consumer spend shifting towards three key areas of health, sanitation and value, with the SPAR brand very well positioned to respond,” Wasmuht continued.
Year-to-date has also seen massive strides forward SPAR’s digital presence, with the retailer launching online presence in an additional 12 markets in the last three months. SPAR now has an online shopping presence in 25 countries worldwide.