‘Having evaluated and considered all options, the board believes that it is in the best interests of the group and shareholders to engage in a process to dispose of its interests in Poland,’ it noted in a statement. ‘Additional information will be provided as the process progresses.’
The group made the announcement in a trading statement to coincide with the end of its financial year, in which it reported double-digit sales growth, despite the high cost-of-living challenges in its international markets and business disruption at home.
Across The Markets
In the 47 weeks to 25 August, SPAR Group reported sales growth of 10.6%, which it described as a ‘strong trading performance’.
Sales went up by 5.9% in its southern African operations, with its wholesale business seeing an 8.1% increase in sales, driven by inflation, and its TOPS at SPAR liquor store business reporting a 0.6% decline.
Its BWG Group operations in Ireland and south-west England reported an 8.5% increase in euro-denominated sales, boosted by ‘strong performances’, the recovery of the hospitality sector, and the integration of businesses in Ireland.
SPAR Switzerland, meanwhile, found the going tougher, reporting a 3.4% decline in CHF-denominated sales, with SPAR citing an ‘extremely challenging market environment’, as well as the transfer of company-owned stores to independent retailers.
SPAR Poland reported a 5.0% increase in PLN-denominated sales, which were ‘positively impacted’ by improved retailer loyalty, but offset by the loss of stores in the prior comparative period, the group noted.
SPAR Group entered Poland in 2019, with the acquisition of the Piotr i Pawel business, as well as obtaining the licence to run the SPAR brand in the country.
New Chief Executive
As of 1 October, a new group chief executive, Angelo Swartz, will assume his position at SPAR Group, along with a new group chief operating officer, Megan Pydigadu.
SPAR Group’s financial year ends on 30 September, with the group set to report full-year results at the end of November.