Dutch retail giant Spar plans to enter Lebanon

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(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Dutch supermarket chain Spar is to enter Lebanon with the opening of 10 stores over the next five years.

Spar, the world’s largest co-operative of independent food retailers and wholesalers, currently operates more than 12,000 stores across 35 countries worldwide.

The licensing agreement between Business Management Integrated (BMI) Holding and Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society will see Spar open supermarket, hypermarket and convenience store formats across the country, with the first due to launch in early 2014.

"We are very excited at the expansion and development of Spar in Lebanon and delighted to have BMI Holding on board,” said Dr Gordon Campbell, CEO of Spar International.

“We are confident that they will find excellent locations and open quality stores to provide Lebanese consumers with an exciting new customer experience," he added.

Spar operates what it calls a ‘voluntary chain’ model, which see close co-operation of independent retailers and wholesalers underneath the Spar brand.

Earlier this year, Campbell told Reuters that Spar was seeking to open 30 stores across the Middle East by the end of 2015, including eight in Abu Dhabi and two in Qatar. It was also seeking to move into Oman and Saudi Arabia over the next three years, he added.

SPAR expects its Middle East operations to generate revenues of over $1bn in five to ten years, Campbell said. The company expects its global turnover to have hit $43bn in 2012, up 4.5 percent over the prior year, he added.

Austria and Norway are its biggest European markets in terms of revenue while Australia, South Africa and China are major markets. By the end of 2015, SPAR projects turnover will hit $50bn as it expands into new markets.

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