Spar's global sales increased by 4.5% last year thanks to larger format stores and significant growth in key and emerging markets such as Austria, South Africa, India and China.

The group’s worldwide retail sales grew by more than €1.3bn in 2010, leading to an overall turnover of €29.8 bn and representing a cumulative 10.4% increase over the last two years. 

Expansion into larger formats, including Spar’s first hypermarkets in Beijing, China, and Delhi, India, led to a 7.5% increase in the average SPAR store size this year, to 519sq m. Spar International managing director Gordon Campbell said the group's aggressive expansion of stores into new countries and regions was a key reason for the rise in sales.

Campbell said: “Our growth has been boosted by the success of our retail strategy, which focused last year on developing the larger Spar store formats, namely supermarkets and hypermarkets, into new and existing markets.

“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. The introduction of Eurospar to Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and Denmark has been a major growth factor during the recession,” he added.

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%. Sales in China rose by 60% to €405 million on the back of a huge increase in sales area to 545,000sq m, while Spar in Russia saw sales rise by 21% to €774 million, mainly due to the improvement in the Russian economy. The country also added 26 new SPAR supermarkets to reach a total of 238.

Globally, Spar retailers operate 12,150 stores in 34 countries.