SPAR (retailer)

SPAR, originally DESPAR, is a Dutch multinational franchise that manages independently owned and operated food retail stores. It was founded in the Netherlands in 1932, 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".
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 in global sales, which represented a 5.3 percent increase over 2016.


The name was originally DE SPAR, an acronym of the Dutch phrase Door Eendrachtig Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig. The acronym was chosen in order to resonate with the verb , which means "save " in Dutch and some other languages, among them German and Scandinavian languages. 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.
There are some international naming variants:
Spar was founded in 1932 in the South Holland town of Zegwaart. 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 Australia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Mozambique, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, China, India, Japan, Vanuatu and Angola as well as Greenland. Spar opened in the Republic of Vanuatu on 1 December 2009, ending Au Bon Marché's grocery monopoly.
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.
In the United Kingdom Spar, founded in 1959, may be a supermarket or a convenience shop. In 1997, Spar was introduced to most United Kingdom military bases by the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes, where it sells a variety of civilian and military products. In Ireland the Spar brand is known for neighbourhood shops and also the subformat Eurospar acting as mini-supermarkets.
Since 1996, the company has been a major sponsor of the European Athletic Association and its events.
The Dutch Spar is a member of Superunie, an inventory purchasing organization for a number of otherwise unaffiliated supermarket brands.
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 southern Britain.
In 2015 Ahold acquired all 35 hypermarkets and 14 supermarkets from Spar, Czechia for more than 5.2 billion Czech koruna. and converted them into Albert super- and hypermarkets, however it had to divest itself of some shops in order not to have a monopoly.
The first SPAR shop in Oman was inaugurated in January 2015 in Muscat. Spar Oman has plans to open more shops over time as part of its expansion plans in Oman. Spar opened its first store in Qatar in 2017, with the second store opening in 2018. A further two stores are planned for 2018.
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. They opened the first store in Thalawathugoda, Colombo. The plan is to open 50 outlets in the country by 2023.

Shop types

In most, but not all countries, SPAR operates shops of different types and sub-brands: SPAR Express, SPAR Neighbourhood, EuroSPAR and InterSPAR.
; EuroSPAR/SuperSPAR
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.
; InterSPAR
These are hypermarkets and compete directly against major international chains such as Real, Carrefour, and Tesco.
; KwikSPAR
KwikSPAR 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
, Austria.
This is the smallest type of shop. They are designed for small sites and filling station forecourts, airports and train stations.
; 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.
; 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.

International statistics (2017)