Spar seeks EU expansion after 10 states join

Spar is to accelerate expansion in Eastern and Central Europe, following 10 states' EU entry.

The retailer already has 350 stores in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia.

However, it is talking to potential partners in Malta and Cyprus, and exploring opportunities in Romania and Bulgaria.

Spar managing director Gordon Campbell said: 'We operate all types of stores, from local convenience and neighbourhood stores to hypermarkets.

This enables us to continue to develop markets, while entering new ones, and successfully trade in diverse areas.'

International Spar has 15,100 outlets in 34 countries, generating sales of EUR26.6 billion (£18.05 billion) in 2002.