At the end of the year there were 13,623 SPAR branded stores operating across 48 markets worldwide in five regions. When viewed over two years, comparing the pre-COVID19 period of 2019 to revenue in 2021, global sales grew by 10.7%, based on average annual exchange rates. This growth has been sustained over a longer period with a 2017-2021 compound annual growth rate of 5.1% and an increase of more than 840 stores worldwide in the same period.
The results were announced at the International SPAR Congress 2022 in Amsterdam, at which representatives of the worldwide SPAR organisation gathered from over 40 countries worldwide. This year’s International SPAR Congress marks the historic celebration of the 90th Anniversary of SPAR, celebrating the global progress it has achieved from its Dutch origins when Adriaan van Well founded the SPAR brand by uniting independent retailers in 1932.
SPAR used the occasion of the International Congress to also announce that the brand will launch in South America for the first time later this year, having signed a partnership agreement with Los Jardines, a leading family-owned and operated food retail chain in Paraguay. The retailer was established in 1994 and now operates stores under the Los Jardines and Los Jardines Express brands across Paraguay.
In addition, SPAR will expand its footprint in Europe with the opening of SPAR Latvia in mid-2022. It will be the 18th European Union country in which the SPAR brand has a presence. The company is also set to establish the SPAR brand in Central Asia with the launch of SPAR Kazakhstan which is targeted for the second half of 2022.
“SPAR has demonstrated sustained resilience as the impact of the pandemic continued to affect our operations internationally,” said Tobias Wasmuht, CEO of SPAR International. “We have grown both our presence and scale in ever-changing and demanding conditions, thanks to the competitive advantages of the SPAR multi-format strategy and the critical role of independent retailing in communities across the globe, which were again a clear factor of success throughout 2021.
“The arrival of SPAR in South America represents a milestone moment for the brand and will provide the basis for growth in uniting independent retailers across Latin America to share the advantages of the world’s largest food retail voluntary chain, whilst maintaining their independence to add value to the local communities they serve.”
In Europe, SPAR achieved a retail turnover of over €33 billion from 12,011 stores in 27 countries. SPAR Austria further expanded its industry leadership position to a 36% market share in 2021, with retail sales reaching €8.56 billion, equivalent to a sales growth of 3.9% in 2021. SPAR Spain’s 13 regional partners achieved sales of €1.77 billion, marking a sales growth of 2.8% year-on-year.
SPAR Switzerland reported growth of 10.7% to reach a total retail turnover of €613.3 million during 2021, while SPAR Netherlands performed strongly, achieving retail sales of €829 million from 453 stores. Furthermore, SPAR Hungary celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2021 and ended the year with a portfolio of 614 stores, and retail sales of €2.43 billion and a sales growth of rate of 7.2% in constant currency terms. SPAR Poland, year-on-year retail turnover grew by 20% reporting annual retail sales revenue of €385.3 million.
Beyond Europe, SPAR China generated retail sales of €1.38 billion, operating 330 stores with a total of 720,000m² of retail space, while SPAR South Africa’s retail turnover for calendar year 2021 was €5.3 billion, a 1.4% growth year-on-year using average constant currency values. Despite difficult trading conditions, SPAR Zimbabwe has continued to successfully serve its communities from 39 stores with retail sales of €110 million in 2021, representing year-on-year growth of 26% using constant currency averages.
2021 also saw SPAR International significantly enhance its digital footprint to become a major player in the wider retail e-commerce world with the roll-out of its digital operations to 35 countries, marking a 192% growth in this channel since 2019. With 28% of SPAR e-commerce now fulfilled by independent retailers, the development and expansion of online is part of a wider digital transformation strategy led by SPAR Data Services and is a key objective for the organisation’s future international development, including the integration of supply chain partners worldwide.
Tobias Wasmuht, CEO of SPAR International, added: “Despite the ongoing global pandemic and additional challenging circumstances, 2021 was a strong year for SPAR worldwide, with global sales surpassing the €40 billion milestone for the first time in our history. The growth of SPAR has been built on the resilience of our supply chain and our highly committed SPAR partners and colleagues worldwide who have shown continued strength in maintaining and growing our operations internationally in the face of ongoing volatility caused by lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions during 2021.
“Through leveraging the power of our international network, along with increased international collaboration across retail and our supply chain, we are well placed to grow and prosper on this strong foundation. Indeed, the SPAR philosophy of Better Together remains as strong today as it did 90 years ago.”
To read the full SPAR International Annual Report 2021, please click here.