(CEO of The SPAR Group Limited)
SPAR is an international retail group operating in 33 countries, across five continents, with approximately 12,000 stores internationally. While its South African formula has been tailored for local conditions, it closely follows the operating model of voluntary trading instituted by its parent company in the Netherlands in 1932.
SPAR South Africa was established in 1963 as part of WG Brown and its Head Office is in KwaZulu-Natal. In 1988 SPAR became a wholly-owned Tiger Brands subsidiary, but was unbundled and separately listed on the JSE in October 2004.
The Group operates as a wholesaler and distributor of goods and services to independently-owned SPAR retail grocery stores, Build it merchandise outlets, and TOPS at SPAR liquor stores. SPAR offers retailer members independence and flexibility and this characterises the SPAR voluntary trading model.
In other words, the main difference between the SPAR model and a franchise model is that the SPAR model is far less prescriptive. SPAR does not contract stores to purchase from the SPAR distribution centres (DCs) and thus retailers have a great degree of latitude to run their businesses as they see fit, as long as they do not bring the brand into disrepute... MORE