SPAR was founded by Adrian van Wekk in 1932. The company’s country of origin is Holland. In 1947, SPAR was able to expand to Belgium, and in 1957, SPAR had expanded to the UK with the help of its five founding members, which were all wholesale businesses.
In the next twenty years, SPAR was able to steadily expand in Europe. The company also began entering Africa’s market around the same period. Beginning the year 2000, SPAR already had operations in Russia, India and China.
For many years, SPAR has been a ‘symbol group,’ meaning every single member of SPAR remains as independent stores and yet these stores still enjoy any and all advantages of being able to belong in an international brand. Among the benefits of being a SPAR member is the ability for collective buying, as well as collective marketing. Being a member of SPAR also affords its members with notable back-up resources and a corporate image that is strong.
Currently, with operations in 33 countries and a total of 13,600 stores, SPAR is considered one of the largest chains of food retail stores. SPAR is also one of UK’s leaders when it comes to the convenience store business, having a £2.7 billion turnover. From the original five founding companies, SPAR now has six wholesale business members managing it. The members service a total of 2,600+ stores and employ more than 50,000 people in the UK alone.
The owners/members of SPAR UK are collectively known as RDCs, or Retail Distribution Companies. These RDCs are: CJ Lang & Son Limited (operates in Scotland), James Hall & Company Limited (operates in Northern Ireland), Capper & Company Limited (operates in South East England/South Wales), Henderson Wholesale Limited (operates in Northern Ireland), AF Blakemore & Son Limited (operates in Eastern England/North Wales/Midlands) and Appleby Westward Group Plc (operates in Southern England/Southwest England). Each of these companies operates within its own territory, and has an exclusive right to supply its stores, as well as enlist potential new members within its area.
Outside of the UK, SPAR has operations in Australia, Africa and Asia.
Headquarters: Middlesex, UK
Ownership Type: Private
Employees: more than 50,000
Geography: Europe and worldwide
Demography: retail products consumers