The Australian branch of global food retailer Spar has opened its first Jardin Fresh Life store in Queensland, with managing director Lou Jardin revealing there are plans to franchise the brand.
Spar, founded in Holland in 1932 by Adriaan Van Well, is the world’s largest supermarket chain, linking independent wholesalers and retailers to offer consumers the best deals.
Spar is part of the acronym of the Dutch sentence “Door Eendrachtig Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig”, which translates into “We all benefit from joint cooperation”.
The company has more than 12,000 stores in 35 countries, including Australia. Spar Australia was established in 2002.
In June last year, Spar Australia launched a new brand called Jardin Fresh Life, with the first store opening in Tuggeranong, a town centre of Canberra.
The brand is characterised by large format stores with a major focus on fresh produce, sourced fresh from the markets daily, while in-store butchers prepare all the meat on site.
A continental deli and fresh bakery department, along with grocery, liquor and specialty foods sections, round out the offer.
Less than six months after the opening of the Tuggeranong store, a second store opened in Sydney, followed by a third store in the Queensland suburb of Rothwell earlier this year.
According to Spar Australia managing director Lou Jardin, there are plans to franchise the brand in the future.
“We’re perfecting the model to get it right so we can… start launching it as an offer,” Jardin told StartupSmart.
“[With regard to franchisees,] you’re looking at people who have basic skills in terms of running a good grocery offer… or someone with a lot of retail experience and we can change them through the whole grocery experience.
“Running a supermarket is not as easy as people make it out to be… We’re looking at individuals with a lot of get up and go and initiative, and can think on their feet.
“We’ll provide all the backroom support.”
Initially, the company will focus on Sydney and Brisbane as their key markets, rather than regional areas, Jardin says.
Jardin isn’t concerned Spar’s European background will affect the success of the brand, citing other retailers that have successfully expanded into foreign markets, including Tesco and Aldi.
“It’s still early days – we’re just starting out – but we’re focused on getting it right,” he says.
According to Jardin, the brand has attracted a lot of support from suppliers, many of whom have become disheartened – to say the least – over the dominance of the major supermarkets.
Jardin Fresh Life offers them an alternative, Jardin says.
“What we’re finding at the moment is they’re really under pressure and a lot of the suppliers are closing up because they can’t compete,” he says.
“Coles and Woolworths are offering more imported products, which puts more pressure on the [Australian] suppliers.
“Small and independent retailers are very beneficial to work with. We love working with those types of suppliers.”