The business has seen changing consumer behaviour over the past 18 months due to the pandemic, the impact of the extended lockdowns and restricted liquor trading. The civil unrest and subsequent closure of damaged and looted stores has negatively impacted the business during the fourth quarter. Of the 184 stores across all formats impacted by civil unrest, 131 stores had reopened by 30 September 2021. The total number of SPAR Southern Africa stores across all brands increased to 2,440.
SPAR private label products accounted for 16.8% of core turnover, the minimal change over 2020 reflecting the closures of five key manufacturers due to civil unrest.
219 SPAR stores were upgraded during the year, highlighting the aggressive modernisation programme and retailer appetite to reinvest in stores. This represents 22% of the existing SPAR store portfolio in Southern Africa.
SPAR South Africa has increased its promotional programme for the year ahead to assist SPAR retailers in supporting consumers and their communities. A strong pipeline of new stores for development is in place, as well a robust store upgrade programme committed to by independent SPAR retailers. The business remains focused on driving retailer profitability, recognising that success lies in the success of the retailers.
SPAR Group Ltd announced on 17 September that group wholesale turnover increased by 2.9% to R127.9 billion (€7.31 billion), equating to a 3.9% increase at constant currency levels. In 2021, the trading conditions in all nine countries in which the SPAR Group Ltd operates were again impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. SPAR Southern Africa includes South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, and Angola.
BWG Foods in Ireland reported wholesale turnover growth of 3.5% in local currency. Solid performance was seen across all formats including SPAR and EUROSPAR independently operated and corporate stores. The business also operates corporate stores in the United Kingdom with its Appleby Westward operation in England. Foodservice and the cash and carry business in Ireland remain under pressure due to the pandemic.
SPAR Switzerland not only acquired 60 forecourt stores from Store Service AG, early in the financial year but also begun developing EUROSPAR Supermarkets, creating more opportunities for expansion. Wholesale turnover increased by 5.6% in local currency. Developing a three-tier offering of SPAR Own Brand products has begun, including the roll-out of the SPAR internationally developed SPAR N°1 Value range.
SPAR Poland had almost completed the conversion of the acquired chain of stores by financial year-end, requiring continued investment this year. The wholesale turnover increased by 16.2% in local currency, reflecting growing loyalty from the independent retailers. Working with SPAR Switzerland and SPAR International, a more comprehensive range of SPAR Own Brand products is available.
Source: SPAR Group Ltd South Africa
Read more about SPAR in South Africa.
SPAR South Africa was established in 1963 and operates four retail formats: SPAR, SPAR Express (operated in conjunction with Shell as a petrol forecourt store), KWIKSPAR (which focuses on convenience in city centres and high footfall locations) and SUPERSPAR (similar to EUROSPAR in offer).
South Africa was the first country outside of Europe to join the SPAR organisation. The SPAR Group Ltd grants sub-licences to independent retailers to operate stores under one of the four formats in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Angola. Almost all the current store portfolio is independently owned.