Successful conversion of Billa stores in Croatia

August 29, 2017 IN THE CATEGORY: Store openings

Earlier this year, SPAR Croatia’s acquisition of all Billa stores in the country was approved and within just two months, 40 Billa stores were converted to SPAR. The deal also included the takeover of the former Billa logistics centre.

The acquired stores are located throughout Croatia, from Istria to Dalmatia and from Slavonia to the capital, Zagreb. The sales areas of the stores vary from 500 to 1,500m².

All 1,900 Billa employees were incorporated into SPAR Croatia’s personnel. “We welcome our new colleagues and are delighted with the increase in the number of SPAR Supermarkets in Croatia,” said Helmut Fenzl, CEO of SPAR Croatia.

“The acquisition of Billa is an important strategic step and represents a new phase in the development of SPAR in the country.” With a market share of about 9%, SPAR is one of the major players in the Croatian food retail market.

More than just a new logo

The conversion of a Billa store involves more than just a new logo on the façade. It means strict planning, exact organisation, a complete system integration and of course, rapid induction of new SPAR employees. Teams of people from various departments such as Sales, Organisation, Controlling and IT from a number of Aspiag countries (Austria SPAR International AG) have to come together to ensure that all store conversions run as smoothly as possible. All cash desks have to be replaced and the scales re-installed and configured. About 8,000 articles need to be added to the system and 10,000 price labels per store reprinted and attached. It’s a challenging team effort but one that definitely pays off in the long run.

Integration of new SPAR colleagues

To introduce former Billa employees to the SPAR world, a programme of internal trainings were held. Helmut Fenzl, CEO of SPAR Croatia, and Danijel Vidiš, Managing Director of SPAR Croatia, presented the SPAR organisation and the SPAR story to the new colleagues as part of their welcome session. They also informed employees of the work and procedures involved in the acquisition process. SPAR Croatia currently employs over 4,000 people in SPAR and INTERSPAR stores, including former Billa stores.


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