SPAR Group of South Africa is a leading supermarket retailer, and the second largest regional arm of the Netherlands-based SPAR grocery co-operative, which unites a combined worldwide total of more than 13,320 independent local retail outlets, including service station forecourts in partnership with Shell, in almost 50 countries. The South African business was founded in 1963 from the merger of eight separate local wholesalers, who signed up to become SPAR International's first partners outside Europe. It was acquired in the 1980s by what is now packaged goods group Tiger Brands, before being spun off as a separate publicly owned business in 2004. The main corporate entity offers centralised wholesale, distribution and marketing services for around 2,140 independently owned retailers in South Africa and neighbouring African countries operating under the SPAR, Tops, SaveMor and Build It banners. The combined business is larger by outlets than any local rival. In 2014, the group also acquired BWG Group, the local licensee for 1,390 SPAR and Londis supermarkets and convenience stores in Ireland and the South West of England; and then the licensee for Switzerland in 2016, and for Poland in 2019. It also operates a joint venture in Sri Lanka. Total coverage is almost 4,400 outlets. Brett Botten succeeded Graham O'Connor as group CEO in 2021. Revenues for the year to Sept 2020 were equivalent to around $7.5bn, of which almost two-thirds was generated in South Africa. Globally, the SPAR International system generated combined sales of €37.1bn in 2019. The concept was first launched in the Netherlands in 1932 by wholesaler Adriaan van Well to supply local shops. The original name was DESPAR, an acronym for a Dutch saying that translates as "All benefit from joint cooperation". De Spar is also the Dutch for the fir tree, which has been the symbol of SPAR since its creation.
Capsule checked 7th January 2021
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Adbrands Daily Update 6th Jan 2020: "A Drinking & Driving Aftertaste". TBWA's South African flagship Hunt Lascaris has unveiled a haunting new drink and drive campaign for South African retailer Tops, part of the giant local Spar retail group. You might expect a liquor retailer to go for something more upbeat, but that makes this approach so notable. There are three spots in the campaign, each highlighting a different "aftertaste" of that terrible decision to take just one more for the road. The other two are "Eternal Mourning" and "Grief"; here's "Remorse". Grim but compelling.
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