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Spar hypermarket mark India debut with Bangalore

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Barely a few weeks into Landmark Group, the Dubai-based retail conglomerate, signing an agreement with international retail franchisee Spar, the first hypermarket has already emerged into the Indian F&G retail scene. This agreement licensed Max Hypermarkets, part of Landmark Group, to launch Spar-branded hypermarkets and supermarkets across India. Plans have also been made to open seven outlets by 2009.

According to earlier plans, the first two stores that included a hypermarket and a supermarket were to be launched in Bangalore in October 2007. A change in plans has ensured that the first Spar hypermarket is operational beginning today, at Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore.

The nearly 100,000 square feet Spar hypermarket, located near Dairy Circle on Bannerghatta Road, offers food and grocery products as well as kitchenware, tableware, home linen, health and personal-care products, toys, stationery, apparel, basic furniture, luggage, consumer electronics, computers, mobile phones and much more. With over 4,000 SKUs, the hypermarket is already offering discounts and bargain prices on product categories like fruits and vegetables, staples, meats, FMCG products, home linen and consumer durables.

This is Landmark Group’s first venture into food retailing. The Spar deal follows earlier attempts by the group to bring the French hypermarket chain Carrefour into India through a similar franchise agreement. The 70-year-old Spar retail franchise chain is based in The Netherlands. It is expected that Landmark Group’s expertise in non-food retailing, together with Spar’s decades-old experience in food and hypermarket retail, will help create the perfect synergy for their India operations.

After the opening of the first hypermarket, next in line is the launch of a 30,000 square feet Spar supermarket in Bangalore by next month. Plans are also afoot to open a third outlet in Chennai, while also expanding Spar’s retail presence in Bangalore. The booming IT-ITES sector in both the cities has created a huge pool of cash-rich consumers.

Currently, the company plans to concentrate its initial retail expansion within South India, but eventually aims to expand its portfolio to the other zones as well.

– Saon Bhattacharya, Bangalore Bureau

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