A handsome set of numbers from SPAR, who report a +7.5% increase in wholesale turnover to over R64bn for the six months through March, with operating profit up +28% to R1.7bn. This was due in large part to strong performances in Ireland, with BWG growing turnover +13.3% and Switzerland at +21.6% both in rands; growth back home reached only +3.1%, with grocery sales almost flat at +0.8% and TOPS, typically a strong performer, losing 72 trading days over prohibition, with sales declining -7.8% YoY as a result. On the upside, Build it, benefiting from the lockdown DIY spree, grew a remarkable +26.2%. Completely shooting the lights out, however, was SPAR’s Polish business, which grew +32.2% in rand terms despite the closure of its locations in malls due to local lockdown, delivering a reduced operating loss. SPAR’s network in Ireland now comprises 1,392 stores, Poland has 230, while the total in Switzerland is 388 after the recent acquisition of a chain of forecourt convenience stores. For more on those numbers, have a look at our results summary here.
Comment: SPAR’s strategy of overseas acquisitions used to look like a hedge. Now it’s a mighty green forest.