Total sales rose €1.2 billion, or 3.5%, to reach €33 billion. This growth was characterized by the growing pace of recovery in Europe, as well as continuing expansion of the SPAR Brand in emerging markets, particularly in Africa. SPAR Continued to grow its presence by entering 4 new countries on four continents during the year. These includes store openings in Indonesia, Cameroon, Oman and Azerbaijan. At the end of 2015 SPAR International had licensed partners in 42 countries world wide.
Recovery in our Western European markets has gathered pace with strong retail sales growth achieved by the top 5 SPAR Countries. With the addition of 17 stores and 4% more selling space to 1.13 million M2, SPAR Austria's sales rose 3.2% to €6.1 billion. SPAR UK increased its store numbers to over 2.400, with turnover rising 2.8% to £2.6 billion. SPAR was once again one of the fastest growing chains in Norway, recording 3% like-for-like sales growth. SPAR Ireland returned to growth, opening 29 new stores and growing sales by 2%. The new EUROSPAR format in Ireland has also been rolled out through a number of flagship store openings. SPAR in Belgium totaled just under €1 billion, up 6.1%, through the expansion of SPAR Express and the new SPAR format under the Colruyt Group.
In Central & Eastern Europe SPAR Hungary saw a growth of 2.8% through the addition of 37 stores, the development of an network of independent retailers and an increase of sales per M2 of 3%. In Croatia SPAR benefited from the integration of 20 former Diona stores and saw their sales increase with 15%. A rapid store expansion programme for SPAR Poland also paid off with sales increasing 17% and 16 new stores opening in the city of Krakow alone. Despite the extremely difficult market conditions, the SPAR Partners in Russia achieved a sales growth of 19% in local currency. Particularly focusing on the larger formats, SPAR Russia has increased their store number to 420 stores across the nation.
SPAR now has a presence in 12 African Markets that account for 17% of SPAR's global turnover. The SPAR Group in South Africa, our largest African partner and our second largest globally, continues to perform strongly with sales up 18%. SPAR Nigeria expanded with the launch of large format SPAR Stores as an achor to the purpose built malls by our partner the Artee Group. With stores opening in Cameroon and further growth in Botswana and Namibia, Africa remains a key focus for SPAR. In the Middle-East the license was finalised with our partner in Oman and 3 stores were operational by the end of the year. In the UAE 13 SPAR stores were opened in the UAE and sales grew significantly with 34%.
The growth of the SPAR Brand has been significant in our Asia Pacific market with the launch of SPAR Indonesia and a good customer response to the re-entry of the brand into India. In Indonesia we opened 15 SPAR supermarkets in just 9 months in partnership with Ramayana. For SPAR India store productivity and like for like sales were positive. The SPAR Brand now has a presence across the nation with 17 hypermarkets in the major cities. SPAR China again saw a strong growth of 6.8% to just under €2 billion and store numbers grew with 48 stores to 347. The retail store portfolio was modernized in response to changing shopper needs, increased competition in the hypermarket format and a rise in category specialists and online retailing.
The 10 largest SPAR markets account for 80% of our global turnover and, encouragingly, all recorded a positive growth in 2015. These results form a solid foundation in our strategy to grow our brand, our presence and our partners by enhancing the competitiveness, productivity and profitability of our retail and wholesale partners worldwide.
With its proven track record the SPAR Brand is a preferred choice for retail and wholesale partners in emerging markets. We will continue actively targeting South East Asia and Africa and already have in place partnerships that will see the SPAR Brand grow in Asia and Africa in the second half of the current year.
The 4 SPAR Formats are tailored to suit different shopping missions in locations ranging from less than 100 M2 to more than 5.000 M2 of selling space.
In the convenience sector SPAR Express and SPAR stores with a sales area of less than 400 M2 represent 25.8% of our global turnover. The neighbourhood supermarket has always been the corner stone of the SPAR Brand and with 35.9% SPAR neighbourhood stores between 400 and 1.000 M2 represent the largest share of global sales.
The EUROSPAR and SUPERSPAR supermarket formats range between 1.000 to 2.500 M2 and represent 22.6% of sales. Predominantly found in Europe and Asia, the INTERSPAR hypermarket format comprises of stores with more than 2.500 M2 and represents 15.7% of sales.
SPAR was founded in Western Europe and this market still represents the largest share in global sales (63.1%) and store numbers (77.2%). With an average M2 per store of 398 Western European stores are the smallest in the group, primarily driven by the convenience sector in the UK (2.434 stores).
Africa and the Middle-East take 17.3% of sales and with a growth of 16% last year remains a key market for future growth. SPAR South Africa is our top performing market on the African continent and represents the majority of the 7.8% of global stores.
Central and Eastern European sales represent 12.7% primarily driven by Hungary, Russia and Slovenia. Particularly in Slovenia stores are larger and the region represents 14.3% of global M2 sales area.
Whilst store numbers only represent 4.7% in Asia Pacific , the majority of stores are in the hypermarket sector and average 2.005 M2, taking 16.3% of our global of selling space. With continued expansion in China and South East Asia, the market is due to take a larger representation in global sales in the next few years.