SPAR has achieved worldwide sales growth of 4.5% in 2010, continuing a very positive trend that has seen sales increase by a cumulative 10.4% in the last two years. SPAR's worldwide retail sales grew by more than €1.3 billion in 2010, leading to an overall turnover of €29.8 billion
Dr. Gordon Campbell, Managing Director of SPAR International, said this level of growth was an excellent achievement during the difficult economic climate, aided by SPAR's aggressive expansion of stores into new countries and regions.
"Our growth has been boosted by the success of our retail strategy, which focused last year on developing the larger SPAR store formats - supermarkets and hypermarkets - into new and existing markets," said Dr Campbell.
Two milestones in new country expansion have been reached in the past year. SPAR's first hypermarket in China's capital Beijing opened in September 2010, and the first SPAR hypermarket in Delhi, India, opened in January of this year.
"The SPAR hypermarket is now the fastest growing retail format in new and emerging markets, with 285 INTERSPAR and SPAR hypermarkets now producing 14.3% of worldwide retail sales," said Dr Campbell.
"The introduction of EUROSPAR to Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and Denmark has been a major growth factor during the recession," he said
The emphasis on larger store formats has led to a 7.5% increase in the average SPAR store size this year, to 519sqm.
A number of countries in particular saw exceptional results in 2010.
SPAR Austria's turnover grew by 4.5% to €5.1 billion, while sales in South Africa increased to €4.5 billion, up by 11.7%. Both countries outperformed their wider retail markets and gained market share throughout the year.
Growth in China also accelerated in 2010. Sales rose by 60% to €405 million and its sales area increased dramatically to 545,000sqm.
SPAR Russia saw sales rise by 21% to €774 million, thanks to the improvement in the Russian economy. The country also added 26 new SPAR supermarkets to reach a total of 238.
"While aggressive global expansion has driven growth, a quick and flexible response to the financial crisis has also been a key factor in growing sales," said Dr Campbell. "SPAR worldwide delivered enhanced value to our customers and assisted them in coping with the demands of the recession throughout 2010
Further boosting its success last year were SPAR's 'Six Winning Strategies for the New Decade,' launched at the 2010 Annual International SPAR Congress, in response to the changes in consumer behaviour following the global economic crisis.
"These strategies build and develop on past success and provide the strategic framework for the business programme of SPAR International in 2011 and beyond," explained Dr Campbell.
"While they do not represent a radical change of direction by SPAR, they represent a clear focus on the tried and trusted strategies, which provided the basis of past success and will form the platform of our future growth," he added.
Particularly noteworthy was the creation of 2,000 new jobs by SPAR Austria in their market last year, truly remarkable in the current economic climate.