Spar (retailer)

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Industry Retail
Founded 1932; 86 years ago (1932)
Headquarters Amsterdam, Netherlands
Area served
(48 countries as of 2017)
Products Grocers' shops, convenience shops, discount shops, hypermarkets and more
Revenue Increase 34.5 billion (2017)
Number of employees

SPAR, originally DESPAR, is a Dutch-founded multinational group that manages independently owned and operated food retail stores.[1] It was founded in the Netherlands in 1932, by Adriaan van Well, and now consists of more than 12,770 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 "All benefit from joint co-operation".[2]

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.[3]


The name was originally DE SPAR, an acronym of the PUKI 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[4] 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:

  • In Italy, the name is still Despar, though in keeping with the international branding, the Spar section of the logo is highlighted, and the larger shops are still called Eurospar and Interspar.
  • In Austria, Despar is Spar's Italian food shop brand.[5]
  • In Japan, some shops operated under the name Hotspar, although the shop logo colouring remained unchanged. Closed end 2016.[citation needed]
  • In China, the name is 家家悦 (pinyin: jiā jiā yuè; literally: "every family is pleased"), though the international branding is kept unchanged, with the Chinese name typically printed above.[citation needed]


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, China, India, Thailand, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Australia,[6] Mauritius, China, India, Japan (closed 2016), United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Greenland[7] (closed 2016) 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 remained unchanged ever since.[8]


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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11]

In 2015 Ahold bought all Czech shops 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. [12]

In March 2015 the first three shops in Indonesia were opened.[citation needed] Twelve shops are planned to open in the country by the end of 2015.[citation needed]

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.[13]. They opened the first store in Thalawathugoda, Colombo. The future plan is to open 50 outlets in the country by 2023.[14]

Shop types[edit]

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. [15]

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.[16]


These are hypermarkets and compete directly against major international chains such as Real, Carrefour, and Tesco.[17][18]

Spar Express
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. They are called Kwikspar in South Africa.[19]

Spar Drive-Thru

There was a drive-through Spar on the Cliftonville Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This has now been converted to a Centra shop, and retained the drive-through for a while afterhand, but now no longer has one.[20]

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.[21]

International statistics (2014)[edit]

Country Sales (in millions)[22] No. of shop[22] Sales area (m²)[22] Sales per area Average shop
size (m²)[22]
Year Nationwide owner
Angola Angola €6.6 1 1,200 €5,465/m² 1,200 2014 The SPAR Group Ltd.
Australia Australia €178.8 128 43,250 €4,134/m² 338 1994 SPAR Australia
Austria Austria €5,910.- 1,539 1,089,677 €5,424/m² 708 1954 Spar Austria Group[23]
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan 2015 AZretail MMC
Belgium Belgium €887.2 281 141,799 €6,257/m² 505 1947 Colruyt and Lambrechts
Belarus Belarus 2 3870 2017 Unifood
Botswana Botswana €117.5 28 28,793 €4,083/m² 1,028 2004 The SPAR Group Ltd.
Cameroon Cameroon 2015 Spar Cameroon
China China €1,786.- 395 955,833 €1,869/m² 3,197 2004 Spar China
Croatia Croatia €317.9 50 87,384 €3,638/m² 1,748 2004 Spar Austria Group[23]
Denmark Denmark €868.8 198 141,821 €6,126/m² 716 1954 Spar Denmark
France France €964.3 937 245,166 €3,933/m² 262 1955 Casino
Georgia (country) Georgia €4.6 6 1,032 €4,442/m² 172 2014 Foodmart
Germany Germany €310.- 425 34,799 €8,908/m² 82 1953 Edeka
Greece Greece €525.6 184 141,107 €3,725/m² 767 1969 Veropoulos
Hungary Hungary €1,584.0 493 408,368 €3,805/m² 828 1992 SPAR Austria Group[23]
India India €35.6 20 71,522 €0,498/m² 4,470 2014 Max Hypermarkets
Indonesia Indonesia 18 2015 Ramayana Lestari Sentosa
Republic of Ireland Ireland €1,101.2 424 112,742 €9,767/m² 266 1963 BWG Foods
Italy Italy €3,119.4 1,385 790,969 €3,944/m² 571 1959 SPAR Austria Group[23]
Japan Japan €48.4 74 8,173 €5,922/m² 110 1997 Hokkaido SPAR
Malawi Malawi €1.5 1 1,650 €0,885/m² 1,650 2014 SPAR Malawi
Mauritius Mauritius €21.0 6 5,700 €3,676/m² 950 2000 Casino
Mozambique Mozambique €40.3 3 6,451 €6,243/m² 2,150 2012 The SPAR Group Ltd.
Namibia Namibia €132.1 28 30,517 €4,327/m² 1,090 2004 The SPAR Group Ltd.
Netherlands Netherlands €431.6 244 98,506 €4,382/m² 404 1932 SPAR Holding B.V.
Nigeria Nigeria €64.0 6 7,826 €8,175/m² 1,304 2009 SPAR Nigeria
Norway Norway €1,494.0 265 153,194 €9,752/m² 578 1984 NorgesGruppen
Oman Oman € 6.319 3 2015 Khimji Ramdas
Pakistan Pakistan 2 2017 Galaxy Group[24]
Poland Poland €154.0 186 48,229 €3,192/m² 259 1995 SPAR Polska
Portugal Portugal €66.9 96 31,581 €2,118/m² 329 2006 Novo Retalho
Qatar Qatar 2 2018 Al Wataniya International Holding
Russia Russia €1,443.7 420 285,199 €5,062/m² 679 2000 SPAR Russia
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia 4 2016 SPAR Saudi Arabia
Slovenia Slovenia €729.6 100 146,873 €4,967/m² 1,596 1992 SPAR Austria Group[23]
South Africa South Africa €4,255.- 821 933,886 €4,556/m² 1,137 1963 The SPAR Group Ltd.
Spain Spain €1,312.5 1,146 436,538 €3,007/m² 381 1959 SPAR Española
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 1 2018 Ceylon Biscuits Limited & SPAR SA
Switzerland Switzerland €498.9 181 74,228 €6,721/m² 410 1989 SPAR Handels AG
Ukraine Ukraine €12.2 11 7,700 €1,584/m² 700 2001 SPAR Luhansk
SPAR Kharkiv
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates €54.5 4 6,200 €8,788/m² 1,550 2011 SPAR United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom United Kingdom €3,193.2 2,352 350,240 €9,117/m² 149 1956 SPAR UK
Zambia Zambia €79.1 15 26,974 €2,933/m² 1,798 2003 SPAR Zambia
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe €156.5 43 30,381 €5,150/m² 707 1969 Originally SPAR Rhodesia now SPAR Zimbabwe

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "About us". SPAR International. Retrieved 13 September 2018. 
  2. ^ "History". SPAR International. Retrieved 13 September 2018. 
  3. ^ "2017 Review". SPAR International. Retrieved 13 September 2018. 
  4. ^ "Englisch-Deutsch Wörterbuch". LEO. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "DESPAR" (in German). SPAR Österreich. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "SPAR Australia opens first Vanuatu shop: AUS". Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2016. [not in citation given]
  7. ^ "Cool Nordic". YouTube. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "SPAR". Raymond Loewy Foundation. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Athletics, Sprints & Sports Days". SPAR. Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ Mark Allix (12 August 2014). "Spar buys stake in Irish supermarkets". BusinessLIVE. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Spar-s-flagship-store-opens-at-Tawar-Mall
  13. ^ "SPAR Sri Lanka". Retrieved 2018-05-31. 
  14. ^ "* Spar continues expansion with entry into Sri Lanka". Retrieved 2018-05-31. 
  15. ^ Eric Pfanner (12 November 2004). "An international grocery giant is emerging from the shadows". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "Shop formats". Spar International. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  17. ^ Ians (28 January 2011). "SPAR to open 24 more hypermarkets in next two years". Sify. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  18. ^ Sedlák, Lubomír (3 February 2011). "CZECH: Spar looks to expand supermarket chain". just-food. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "Shop formats". Spar South Africa. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  20. ^ "Inquiry into Town Centre Regeneration". Northern Ireland Assembly Archive Site. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  21. ^ "Chronologie: Von Konsum bis Rewe". 24 February 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c d "Spar International Annual Report 2014" (PDF). SPAR International. Wayback Machine. 28 April 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2017. 
  23. ^ a b c d e "ASPIAG Countries". ASPIAG Austria SPAR International. Retrieved 9 April 2016. 
  24. ^

External links[edit]

Media related to SPAR (category) at Wikimedia Commons