SPAR Austria Group includes SPAR Austria, ASPIAG, Hervis, and SES SPAR European Shopping Centres. In 2021, the trading conditions in all countries in which the SPAR Austria Group operates were again significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, SPAR Holding Austria Group reported Earnings before tax (EBT) of over € 334 million. This corresponds to an EBT margin of 2.6%. The equity ratio amounts to a strong 37.8% in 2021 (2020: 36.1%). The Group invested over €750 million during 2021.
In the food retail business, gross sales turnover in Austria, Northern Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia grew to a total of €15.09 billion, an increase of 4%.
In Austria, SPAR reported a food retail sales growth of 3.9%, which is well above the Austrian food retail industry’s estimated average decline of -0.3% (as estimated by Nielsen). SPAR Austria not only maintained its market leadership position first achieved in 2020 but significantly expanded it.
In total, SPAR Austria’s store portfolio comprises 1,443 SPAR and EUROSPAR stores, 69 INTERSPAR Hypermarkets, and seven Maximarkt stores. A total of 692 of these locations are operated by independent SPAR retailers. There are 59 restaurants operated by INTERSPAR. During 2021, about 50 stores were newly opened and over 90 were modernised. 2021 also saw the opening of the stunning INTERSPAR Schottentor in the first district of Vienna.
In Northern Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, and Croatia, SPAR generated total sales of €6.45 billion and achieved a strong sales growth of 4.9% (after being adjusted for exchange rate effect). In all these markets, SPAR is among the top 3 grocery retail companies. In two regions in Italy – Friuli and South Tyrol-Trentino – SPAR is the market leader.
In 2021, new INTERSPAR Hypermarkets were opened in Imola (Italy), Kaposvár (Hungary), Osijek and Samobor (Croatia) in 2021. This brought the number of INTERSPAR Hypermarkets outside Austria to 112, while the total number of SPAR stores outside the country grew to 1,325 thanks to strong expansion.
Online grocery platforms are run by SPAR in Hungary and Slovenia, whereas both grocery and a dedicated wine platform are run by SPAR in Austria. During 2021, e-commerce sales grew by 60% in Slovenia, 16% in Hungary, and 10% in Austria, respectively. In November 2021, the company commissioned a new wine warehouse for its e-commerce platform weinwelt.at. A fully digitalised wine warehouse equipped with innovative storage technology was built in Loosdorf (Lower Austria), where over 2,500 orders can be processed daily. Twenty new jobs were created in the process.
The pandemic has shown how important a perfectly functioning local supply chain is. SPAR Austria Group pays great attention to its logistics network, which is fully digitalised and equipped with innovative technologies.
SPAR Austria Group launched a research project to use artificial intelligence (AI) to forecast stock levels. In all the Group’s markets, fresh produce is brought to the stores daily, several times a day during peak periods. Food and non-food products are distributed to the stores in Austria, Northern Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia through a total of 24 warehouses and logistics platforms. SPAR Austria Group operates 17 of these itself. The fourth expansion of the central warehouse in Wels is currently under construction, a new warehouse is being built in Croatia, and a new logistics centre in Monselice, Italy, is approaching full operation. The SPAR Austria Group employs over 5,000 team members in logistics; 2,700 of them work in Austria.
Source: SPAR Austria
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The origins of SPAR in Austria date back to 1954, but the current SPAR AG was created in 1970 when the original founding families joined with other regional wholesalers to form SPAR Austria AG – a 100% privately owned Austrian company.
With licences granted by SPAR International, ASPIAG (Austria SPAR International AG) has developed SPAR in Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, and Northern Italy. With sales of €8.3 billion and impressive growth of 16%, SPAR Austria became the market leader in the Austrian grocery trade during 2020, after being a market growth leader for over a decade.