By Stelios Orphanides
Ermes Deparment Stores Plc, a member of the Cyprus Trading Corporation Plc Group (CTC) said it has entered a partnership with the Dutch retail group SPAR International to open 20 supermarkets in Cyprus over the next five years.
“The first SPAR stores to open in Cyprus are planned for Q1 (first quarter of) 2018 with a target of opening of more than 20 SPAR supermarkets over the coming five years,” Ermes said in a statement on the website of the Cyprus Stock Exchange on Tuesday. “The stores will be both independent retailer conversions to the SPAR brand and new company owned, greenfield SPAR Supermarkets developed by Ermes. The new entity, to be created in Cyprus by Ermes, aims to establish and manage the biggest co-operation in retail foodstores and to become the leading wholesale and retail service provider to independent retailers in Cyprus through expert leadership, cooperation and support”.
SPAR operates 12,545 stores in 44 countries and posted a €33.1bn in turnover last year, the statement said. Ermes operates 90 retail shops selling apparel, cosmetics and electrical appliances with over 75 square meters in retail space. Seven Ermes stores are in Greece.
The Dutch company will provide support through retail layout and design, own brand products, staff training and expertise in other areas including brand building marketing campaigns, it said. “The access to international SPAR best practice will be combined with local expertise and skills to provide independent retailers with a full package of solutions and tools to enable them to thrive and survive in a very competitive market”.
Marios Shacolas, CTC chief executive chairman and officer said that the strategic alliance with SPAR will help Ermes maintain market leadership on the island and continue on the path of sustainable growth. “Whilst we will benefit from the SPAR global network and support services, we will not lose sight of our need to strengthen local manufacturers, distributors and retailers, giving back to our local economy”.
SPAR’s managing director Tobias Wasmuht said that the deal will allow independent retailers on the island “to respond to growing market concentration in Cyprus of national and international chains while meeting the needs of both local and international tourist shoppers”.
“Unifiying together as SPAR Cyprus permits, the progressive independent retailers of Cyprus to maintain their independence whilst seizing the benefits of a strong international food retail brand with the scale benefits of a buying group operating on both a national and international level,” the SPAR executive added.