Spar (retailer)

Last updated

Industry Retail
Founded1932;88 years ago (1932)
Number of locations
13,112 (worldwide)
Area served
(48 countries as of 2017)
Products Grocers' shops, convenience shops, discount shops, hypermarkets and more
RevenueIncrease2.svg 34.5 billion (2017)
Number of employees
Parent none  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

SPAR, originally DESPAR, is a Dutch multinational franchise that manages independently owned and operated food retail stores. [1] It was founded in the Netherlands in 1932, [2] by Adriaan van Well, and now consists of more than 13,112 stores in 48 countries. The company's name is an acronym of the slogan "Door Eendrachtig Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig", which was used by van Well to describe the brand and translates as "Everyone works better together". [3]


Its headquarters are located in Amsterdam. The company operates a partnership programme and has a presence in most European countries, as well as many others throughout Asia, Africa and Oceania.

In fiscal year 2017, SPAR achieved 34.5 billion ($40.1 billion) in global sales, which represented a 5.3 percent increase over 2016. [4]


The name was originally DE SPAR, an acronym of the Dutch phrase Door Eendrachtig Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig [note 1] (English: "through united co-operation everyone regularly profits"). The acronym was chosen in order to resonate with the verb sparen , which (related to English spare ) means "save [money]" in Dutch and some other languages, among them German [5] and Scandinavian languages (with variants such as spara or spare). The acronym ended up meaning "the fir", after which the logo was chosen. As the organisation expanded across Europe, the name was abbreviated by dropping the DE prefix. [ citation needed ] There are some international naming variants:


SPAR shop in Moerkapelle, Netherlands Spar Moerkapelle.jpg
SPAR shop in Moerkapelle, Netherlands

Spar was founded in 1932 in the South Holland town of Zegwaart (now Zoetermeer). In 1953 an International Spar office opened in Amsterdam to control and further develop the organisation throughout Europe and other continents. Many Spar shops are in Europe, but they can also be found in a number of countries outside of Europe, such as Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Mozambique, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Australia, [8] [ failed verification ] Mauritius, China, India, Japan (closed 2016), Vanuatu, Greenland and Angola.

A Spar shop may be owned independently, by a franchisee, or be part of a chain, depending on the model applied in any given country. The owners of the parent company vary from country to country and may include the shop owners themselves. The name and the current logo was most recently revised in 1968 by Raymond Loewy and has since remained unchanged. [9]

Spar Spar-logo.svg

In the United Kingdom Spar has become known primarily as a convenience shop.[ citation needed ]

In Ireland the Spar brand is known for neighbourhood shops and also the subformat Eurospar acting as mini-supermarkets.[ citation needed ]

Spar opened in the Republic of Vanuatu on 1 December 2009, ending Au Bon Marché's grocery monopoly.[ citation needed ]

Since 1996, the company has been a major sponsor of the European Athletic Association and its events. [10]

In 1997, Spar was introduced to most United Kingdom military bases by the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (Naafi), where it sells a variety of civilian and military products. [11]

The Dutch Spar is a member of Superunie, an inventory purchasing organization for a number of otherwise unaffiliated supermarket brands.[ citation needed ]

In July 2014 Spar Group South Africa opened its first supermarket in Angola but no expansion of the brand is planned for this market. In August 2014 the group acquired 80% of the BWG Group, which had outlets in Ireland and southwest England. [12]

In 2015 Ahold acquired all 35 hypermarkets and 14 supermarkets from Spar, Czech for more than 5.2 billion Czech koruna. [13] and converted them into Albert super- and hypermarkets, however it had to get rid of some shops in order not to have a monopoly.[ citation needed ]

The first SPAR shop in Oman was inaugurated in January 2015 in Muscat.[ citation needed ] Spar Oman plans to open more shops in the coming months as part of its expansion plans in Oman.[ citation needed ] Spar opened its first store in Qatar in 2017, with the second store opening in 2018. A further two stores are planned for 2018. [14]

In 2017 Ceylon Biscuits Limited in Sri Lanka acquired a license to operate Spar brand in Sri Lanka as Spar Lanka. This is a joint venture of Ceylon Biscuits Limited and SPAR Group Ltd South Africa. [15] They opened the first store in Thalawathugoda, Colombo. The plan is to open 50 outlets in the country by 2023. [16]

Shop types

Spar shop in Laiwu, China SPAR(Jia Jia Yue ) in Laiwu,Shandong,China.jpg
Spar shop in Laiwu, China

In most, but not all countries, SPAR operates shops of different types and sub-brands. SPAR Express, SPAR Neighbourhood, EUROSPAR and INTERSPAR. [17]

Interspar shop in Hungary Szinvapark.jpg
Interspar shop in Hungary

The Eurospar name is used in Europe and Superspar in South Africa. These are mid-sized supermarkets. They are designed to fit in a niche between convenience shops and traditional supermarkets. [18]


These are hypermarkets and compete directly against major international chains such as Real, Carrefour, and Tesco. [19] [20]


KwikSPAR (only found in South Africa) are a smaller quick stop shop for convenience. They are larger than the conventional SPAR Express but smaller than the normal SPAR. These store tend to have extended trading hours, some even being 24hr convenience stores.

Spar Express
A filling station with a Spar Express shop in Wattens, Austria Spar Express Wattens.jpg
A filling station with a Spar Express shop in Wattens, Austria

This is the smallest type of shop. They are designed for small sites and filling station forecourts, airports and train stations. [21]

Spar Drive-Thru

There was a drive-through Spar on the Cliftonville Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. This has now been converted to a Centra shop, and retained the drive-through for a while afterhand, but now no longer has one. [22]

Spar Gourmet

Some small Spar shops in Austria are called Spar Gourmet, since the Austrian Spar Group took over the supermarket chains Julius Meinl in 2000. The standard range is extended to local and global delicacies. [23]

International statistics (2017)

CountrySales (in millions) [24] No. of shops [24] Sales area (m²) [24] Sales per areaAverage shop
size (m²) [24]
Nationwide ownerNotes
Albania €37.63020,536€1,831/m²6852016 Balfin Group [25]
Angola 12014The SPAR Group Ltd.
Armenia 12019
Australia €200.713046,105€4,353/m²3551994SPAR Australia
Austria €6,700.01,5561,178,429€5,686/m²7571954Spar Austria Group [26]
Azerbaijan €19.475,466€3,546/m²7812014AZretail MMC
Belarus 32017 Almi Group's Unifood CJSC
Belgium €998.2320155,408€6,423/m²4861947 Colruyt and Lambrechts
Botswana €161.1303,092€5,209/m²1,0312004The SPAR Group Ltd.
Cameroon €8.4324€3,494/m²2,4002014Spar Cameroon
China €1,836.84081,090,346€1,685/m²2,6722004Spar China
Croatia €596.7104142,385€4,191/m²1,38))(22004Spar Austria Group [26]
Cyprus 2017
Denmark €487.514795,737€5,092/m²6511954Spar Denmark
France €961.1860251,204€3,858/m²2921955 Casino
Georgia €27.01076,519€4,135/m²1552014Foodmart
Germany €318.246637,310€8,529/m²801953 Edeka
Greece (2014)€525.6184141,107€3,725/m²7671969 Veropoulos
Hungary €1,817.3 519 416,079€4,368/m²8021992SPAR Austria Group [26]
India €158.01882,453€1,916/m²4,5812014Max Hypermarkets
Indonesia €45.62342,276€1,078/m²1,8382015Ramayana Lestari Sentosa
Ireland €1,237.8453116,452€10,629/m²2571963 BWG Foods
Italy €3,375.71,218738,890€4,569/m²6071959SPAR Austria Group [26]
Japan 2,000 (1994)1977All Tulip Chain/All Japan SPAR/Hot SPAR Convinience Networks/Hokkaido SPARDisbanded in 2016.
Kosovo 32019SPAR Kosova J.S.C.
Malawi €6.532850€2,290/m²9502014SPAR Malawi
Malta 2017
Mauritius €24.465,700€4,273/m²9502000 Casino
Mozambique €40.1910,241€3,915/m²1,1382012The SPAR Group Ltd.
Namibia €160.92931,967€5,034/m²1,1022004The SPAR Group Ltd.
Netherlands €471.926194,547€4,991/m²3621932SPAR Holding B.V.
Nigeria €115.51239,385€2,933/m²3,2822009SPAR Nigeria
Norway €1,534.3291180,325€8,508/m²6201984 NorgesGruppen
Oman €27.3248,286€3,300/m²3452014Khimji Ramdas
Pakistan 22017Galaxy Group [27]
Poland €244.525067,648€3,615/m²2711995SPAR Polska
Portugal €72.313132,395€2,233/m²2472006Novo Retalho
Qatar 38,5302015Al Wataniya International Holding
Russia €1,713.3466376,049€4,556/m²8072000SPAR Russia
Saudi Arabia 42016SPAR Saudi Arabia
Seychelles €5.31895€5,916/m²8952015
Slovenia €783.9121161,316€4,859/m²1,4031992SPAR Austria Group [26]
South Africa €4,836.2839976,197€4,954/m²1,1641963The SPAR Group Ltd.
Spain €1,389.51,088438,181€3,171/m²4031959SPAR Española
Sri Lanka 32017 Ceylon Biscuits Limited & SPAR SA
Switzerland €515.018370,469€7,309/m²3851989SPAR Handels AG
Thailand €5.2334,810€1,089/m²1462016Bangchak Corporation [28]
Ukraine €9.6234,778€1,835/m²2812001Volwest LLC
United Arab Emirates €130.82523,714€5,515/m²9492011SPAR United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom €3,236.92,620384,094€8,427/m²1471959SPAR UK
Zambia €53.21427,614€1,972/m²1,9722003SPAR Zambia
Zimbabwe €115.73526,011€4,447/m²7431969Originally SPAR Rhodesia now SPAR Zimbabwe
Bermuda €865.555,098€5,331/m51987SPAR Bermuda
New Caledonia €920.161616,067€16,621/m162001SPAR New Caledonia
Suriname €721.202020,099€20,986/m201994SPAR Suriname
Bahamas 51999SPAR Bahamas
Central African Republic 1991SPAR Central African Republic
Mali 2014SPAR Mali
Egypt 2017SPAR Egypt

See also


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