* Aims for $1 billion Middle East revenues in 5-10 years
* Looking at UAE, Qatar, Lebanon, Saudi and Oman
* Partnering with Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society
By Stanley Carvalho
ABU DHABI, Jan 27 Dutch food retailer SPAR
International plans to enter the Middle East, aiming to have 30
stores in the region by the end of 2015, its managing director
said on Sunday.
The company, which says it has over 12,000 stores worldwide,
will have eight stores in Abu Dhabi, two in Qatar and one in
Lebanon by the end of this year, Gordon Campbell told Reuters.
SPAR plans to expand further in the United Arab Emirates and
is also looking at entering Oman and Saudi Arabia over the next
three years, he added.
"Our focus will be on a range of fresh foods and the
convenience of food to go and food to stay, with a seating area
in the compact stores," he said.
The UAE, where expatriates far outnumber local citizens,
already has international retailers such as Carrefour
and Geant as well as locally developed brands such as Lulu, so
competition is intense. But Campbell said there was still room
"Wherever we go, they say the market is saturated. The
reality is the food market is evolving always with new ideas and
concepts," he said.
SPAR's unique selling point will be its convenience stores
and large supermarkets of around 1,800 square metres; other
retailers in the region have focused on hypermarkets with sizes
of around 10,000 square metres, Campbell said.
The Dutch firm is partnering with Abu Dhabi Cooperative
Society, a local retailer, for its Middle East entry and
SPAR expects its Middle East operations to generate revenues
of over $1 billion in five to ten years, Campbell said. The
company expects its global turnover to have hit $43 billion in
2012, up 4.5 per cent over the prior year, he added.
Austria and Norway are its biggest European markets in terms
of revenue while Australia, South Africa and China are major
markets. By the end of 2015, SPAR projects turnover will hit $50
billion as it expands into new markets.
(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho, Editing by Andrew Torchia)