The well-known food retailer SPAR first began life as supermarket chain DESPAR. It is now part of a Dutch-founded group which manages food retailers which are all independently operated and owned. It sells a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, packet and tinned food, alcohol, dairy products, bakery items, pet foods and other daily essentials in small, mainly local branches. There are now over 12,000 stores worldwide across almost 50 countries, and the headquarters are located in Amsterdam. Not only are branches found in the UK, but they are also seen across Europe, and throughout Africa, Oceania and Asia. SPAR have a wide presence in travel hubs such as ports, train stations, motorway service stations and airports. They are also present on many military bases as they are independently operated.
The retailer can be recognised easily by its distinctive red signage with its green tree logo and white lettering. All of the retail stores which are part of the group are independent operators, and therefore they have their own SPAR opening times and closing hours. There are more than 2000 locations across the length and breadth of the UK, covering each of the UK’s countries. Stores can be found on high streets, in local communities and in garages, all selling a range of useful household and food products in convenient locations.
The SPAR openings times on public holidays will also vary depending on the owner and operator of the location as well as the part of the UK in which it is based. Different areas have different regulations about SPAR opening times on bank holidays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Easter Monday and Good Friday, so it’s advisable to check your closest store for details. You can find more information about SPAR opening times online for your local area.
SPAR stores sell a range of home brand and branded food and home products. Customers can choose from fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen foods, meat and fish, chilled and dairy foods, wines, beers and spirits, soft drinks, bakery products and packet goods as well as household items, pet products and toiletries. Many locations offer a range of other services including parcel pick up and drop off points, lottery ticket sales, post office services and bill payment options. Many locations also have food and drink takeaway options with brands like Costa, Greggs and Subway available. The branches which are located on forecourts also have classic garage services.
The first ever branch of Spar was established back in 1932 in Holland and during the 1950s, an International office was opened to develop and expand the organisation across Europe and the rest of the world. Today, although there are many locations in Europe, branches are also found outside the continent in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Shops that are part of this retail brand are either independently owned or are franchises depending on each country’s model. The franchises are established so that they are not in direct competition with each other and have some degree of independence as to how and where they source their products, giving them local bargaining power when it comes to suppliers.
The famous tree-shaped logo was first created during the 1960s and is highly recognisable today, having remained unchanged for all these years. In the UK, the brand is synonymous with convenience and shops are generally located in local communities. They are also often found on garage forecourts as well as on army, navy and RAF bases where they sell a wide range of convenience products. The most recent expansion of the brand has been into Sri Lanka and there are plans to expand the number of stores further into Asia. This will make the brand even bigger and more extensive than it is now – and it is already the biggest food retailer in the world.