Global insight: Spar making strides in Russia

Spar International managing director Dr Gordon Campbell is eyeing further growth in Russia following a 12-month period that has seen the convenience store chain license five new partners in the country.

Last week, the convenience store chain granted two new licences – one to the Anix chain of stores for the Altay Republic, and a second with the Semya Group for the Kaliningrad region – to further expand the company’s network in Europe’s largest nation. Agreements with new partners have already been made in Tyumen, Irkutsk and Tomsk over the last year, helping the retail network significantly boost sales in the region.

Spar retail sales in Russia increased by 21% to over €1.13 billion in 2012 and they have reportedly continued to grow strongly since. At the end of July 2013, retail sales were up a further 18% in local currency terms, with Russia now one of the top performing markets on a global basis for Spar.

Commenting on the on-going success of Spar in Russia, Campbell said: “Existing and new partners are attracted by our collaboration in purchasing, exchange of knowledge around best practice and our entrepreneurial approach to doing business.

“We look forward to further growth in our overall store numbers and retail sales in 2014 and to welcoming more new partners to our growing network.”

The retail group is in advanced discussions with a number of other parties in relation to the awarding of additional licenses in Russia, while a separate license for the Moscow region, which has become available following a change in the ownership of an existing partner, is also attracting interest.

Having first established its presence in Russia in 2001, Spar International has 13 partners and more than 300 stores in the country. Spar Retail, a key partner for Spar International in the Moscow region, has also recently confirmed that it will roll-out a major investment programme across its existing estate of 27 stores around the Russian capital.

Russia is becoming an increasingly popular territory for retailers looking to expand on an international scale, with online fashion house Asos recently launching a website to serve the country. In September, the leading UK clothing e-tailer said that business is going well following the launch of the site in May, and it is set to become a key part of the company’s burgeoning international operations in the month's ahead.