SPAR to enter Greece, plans 350 store network

SPAR to enter Greece, plans 350 store network

Amsterdam-based food retailer SPAR plans to enter the Greek market and open 350 stores across the country in the next four years, the company said on Monday.

The target will be reached with the help of a strategic cooperation between SPAR and Greek supermarkets Asteras, that own a 200 store network. Asteras will turn most of outlets into SPAR stores, the Dutch cooperative retailer said in a statement. Asteras also has a joint cooperation agreement with supermarkets Mesis Hellas, that will add to SPAR's Greek network.

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"The first 10 SPAR stores are due to launch in Greece by July and SPAR Hellas aims to operate a total of 80 stores by the end of 2018. The SPAR network in Greece will grow both through the conversion of ASTERAS and MESIS stores, as well as through the acquisition of new, company-owned stores by SPAR Hellas," the statement said.

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The move is the latest change in Greece's supermarket industry after the country's debt crisis brought private consumption levels plunging down amidst concerns of a Grexit, fears the country would be forced out of the euro and back to its own currency.

The sector's top player, Sklavenitis, is in the process of completing its merger with peer Marinopoulos, while Vasilopoulos has announced plan to expand its operations.