Continued growth in Europe was enhanced by the rapid expansion of SPAR in emerging markets. As the world’s largest voluntary food retail chain, with 12,545 stores in 44 countries and a global turnover of €33.1 billion, SPAR harnesses its strength from its diversity and global network. During 2016, SPAR launched in five new countries and expanded through new regional partners in China and Russia. It was an exceedingly strong year of store expansion, with 369 new stores and 224,956m2 in net sales area opened.
The 44 countries together operated 12,545 stores at the end of December 2016. 77 Partners work together in those markets to build the brand. The four regions are outlined below with some key highlights shared for each region.
14 Western European Countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom
SPAR had a very strong year in Western Europe, growing at 4.8%. In this region, SPAR benefited from a return in investment on store modernisation, particularly in the compact hypermarket as well as the neighbourhood / convenience channels. SPAR is operational in nine countries in the Eurozone and these SPAR Partners performed exceptionally well in 2016, growing to €15 billion retail sales, opening net 34 stores and increasing total selling area to 2.9 million m2. Despite the economic and political uncertainty of Brexit, SPAR in the UK had record results, adding 186 net new stores and growing by £223 million, an increase of 8.5% in local currency. SPAR in Europe benefits from customers demanding more convenience, as evidenced by the strong performance of convenience and neighbourhood channels across European grocery markets. With over 6,000 of these stores in Western Europe alone, SPAR is well placed to build on this strong position and shall continue to grow through the addition of both independent retailers and company owned stores.
9 Central & Eastern European Countries: Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia (ASPIAG Austrian SPAR International AG); Russia, Poland, Georgia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Ukraine
In Central and Eastern Europe, SPAR grew at an impressive 6.1%. SPAR Hungary, SPAR Slovenia and SPAR Croatia, owned and operated by ASPIAG (Austrian SPAR International AG), grew strongly. Hungary is the largest SPAR market in the region with over €1.67 billion turnover. SPAR Russia grew at 7.7%, continuing to show great resilience in the face of strong discount competition and cautious consumer demand.
15 Africa & Middle East Countries: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Cameroon, Nigeria, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia, Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar
SPAR now has a presence in 15 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The region showed continued growth driven by the SPAR Group of South Africa with sales in local currency increasing by 8.3% during the year. Despite volatility and a weakened South African Rand, this equates to a turnover of over €4.4 billion. In the Middle East, SPAR had an excellent year with both the UAE and Oman growing by 50% and 192% respectively. With a strong foothold established in the region, 2017 shall also see SPAR opening in both Qatar and Riyadh.
6 Asia Pacific Countries: China, Indonesia, Australia, India, Thailand, Mongolia
In addition to growing our presence in Asia through the launch of SPAR in Thailand, SPAR now has a presence in six Asian countries with 1.2 million m2 in net retail sales area. In local currency, growth amounted to 6.7%; when reported in Euro this corresponds to €1.93 billion. 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.
The regional analysis can be seen below comprising sales contribution to the global turnover of €33.1 billion, the number of stores each region has as well as the sales area per square metre across the regions and finally the contribution to sales of each of the four formats.