International News - Spar moves into Brazil as it seeks global growth

Symbol group International Spar intends to enter Brazil and is looking at other opportunities in Africa and Central Europe. Spar is working with an independent retailer in Brazil, and, if a partnership is struck the first Brazilian Spar may open later this year. Spar's only South American outpost at present is Argentina.

M+M Planet Retail analyst Carlos Hernandez said the Brazilian market is becoming very competitive. The top five - Casino, which part-owns CBD, Carrefour, Ahold, Modelo Continente and SHV Makro - have a combined share of 19.7 per cent.

Hernandez said: 'On entry, the international players pick a couple of states and then look to expand. I expect Spar to follow the same strategy.'

The retailer would not specify which countries in Africa and Central Europe it is targeting, but believes new member countries could be on board by the end of the year.

Spar also aims to consolidate its position in countries where it is already present, such as Italy, France and the Netherlands.

In Italy, two wholesalers - one in Sardinia and one in the Rome area - have joined Spar. Their membership will result in 71 Spar supermarkets being developed. In France, Casino, which operates Spar stores, is to convert 89 of its own supermarkets to the Spar brand.

Spar in the Netherlands plans to increase store numbers, from 280 to 500 within the next five years. International Spar posted sales growth worldwide of 5.6 per cent to EUR26.6 billion (£19.18 billion).