The lost bets and the next moves of Spar in Greece

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By George Lampiris

The Spar International Group recorded sales of 39.8 billion euros in 2020, an increase of 7.4%, maintaining at the end of last year a total of 13,501 stores with the Spar label in 48 markets worldwide. Greece continues to be one of these markets until now. With a small or bigger objection regarding our country: that the Spar brand in Greece, which he bet during his second term under new managers – after the first attempt in the era of Nikos Veropoulos – is now in a second period of unfavorable .

In fact, during the last five years, the Spar group has added more than 1,000 stores with a total area of ​​250,000 sq.m. in the network it maintains in these 48 countries, where it operates. In Greece, however, things were quite different, according to the relevant report of the parent group, which shows that the decline in tourist traffic by 75% in 2020 affected the turnover of the chain, which was limited to 52.4 million euros. , with a change of 19.3% compared to 2019. However, this was not the only reason for a reversal from the initially expected. During the reopening of the brand in Greece from 2018 until today, in no case was the result as expected. At some point in October 2018, the then management of Spar Hellas, headed by Fivos Karakitsos, a market acquaintance and former high-ranking executive of Carrefour Marinopoulos, talked about a network of 175 stores until 2020. Something that was never achieved.

What happened and what did not happen

A lot happened along the way. Or a lot did not happen. Phoebus Karakitsos resigned from the position of managing director and was replaced by George Papantonis, as president and managing director, who also holds the position of president of the supermarket shopping group, Asteras. Market sources said that the shape of Spar Hellas from its inception and then created high operating costs, but without having the turnover that its leaders would expect and consequently profitability. And especially without having the results that the parent company and the managing director of Spar International, Tobias Wasmuht, would have expected, when he decided to return the brand to Greece. However, serious losses from the Greek network could be characterized on the one hand by the departure of Flora Kontaratos based in Mykonos (turnover 33 million in 2019), but also by Koutelieris in Naxos (turnover 18 million in 2019), two companies with strong local footprint, which downloaded the Spar signs in 2021, left the Asteras group and joined ELOMAS together with several other companies of shorter or longer range.

Thus, where Spar had managed to integrate several regional chains or individual stores of companies active in the supermarket market, it saw several of them leave and enter the ELOMAS shopping group, but also in other forms as typically happened with the accession. two stores of the company Dimofeodoroi Bros. (Dimakret) in Attica, which joined the SYNKA group of Chania, which recently with a vehicle these two stores entered Attica stores in Neo Heraklion and Ano Glyfada.

Restructuring efforts

In all this, Spar Hellas and on the one hand the old acquaintance of the supermarkets, George Vogiatzakis, shareholder of Spar Hellas and owner of a store on Poseidonos Avenue, as well as its CEO George Papantonis, began to investigate actions to turn the tide. In this context, Spar, which had a partnership with the Verouka Group and Bazaar, a company that was responsible for the storage and distribution of the logistics facilities it owns, recently renewed its contract with the parent group for the Hellas. On the other hand, he leased new warehouses after the termination of the cooperation with Bazaar, which are located in Koropi.

In the foreground shot for Spar Natural stores with organic products

Company sources told Capital.gr that a restructuring is underway with the conversion of stores of the Asteras group into Spar, while they noted that the installation process of the concept of organic products, Spar Natural, has already begun, which will be developed in parallel with the Spar network. for the membership in which about 30 members of Asteras have signed.

In fact, there are currently about 24 Spar stores operating, while one store in Kythnos and one store of Pappou company in Rhodes are in the phase of changing corporate identity. One area in which Spar Hellas bets is Crete and soon according to the same sources there will be collaborations there to join new companies in the Spar network.

In any case, all the above plans are subject to the condition that they will be implemented initially and will succeed, given the course so far, which was in any case lower than the initial expectations.

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Source From: Capital

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