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Dutch retail giant Spar has tied up with Landmark Group for hypermarket foray in India. The $37-billion behemoth has signed a licensing agreement with Max Hypermarkets India, a part of Landmark, to set up big box shops under the Spar brand. The first SPAR hypermarket, spread across 70,000 sq ft, has been launched in Bangalore. Spar International had earlier tried entering India with Mumbaibased Radhakrishna Foodland, but the tie-up feel through. Spar International is currently present in 34 countries, across different formats — convenience stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets.

“Since Landmark is not present in hypermarket and supermarket formats, our group did not have any expertise. Therefore, we wanted to tie up with an international player, which had expertise in operating a hypermarket,” said Viney Singh, managing director, Max Hypermarkets. Spar will handle the merchandising and display for the chain. The hypermarket will also have its own products under the brand Spar. It is believed that landmark had earlier explored tie-up options with several global retail giants, including UK’s Tesco.

Max Hypermarket India plans to invest over Rs 200 crore to set up seven Spar hypermarkets and supermarkets by December 2009 in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, NCR and Punjab. “Of the seven stores planned, we are primarily setting up hypermarkets. Also, next month we are launching a supermarket in Bangalore. The supermarket will be spread across 25-30,000 sq ft,” said Mr. Singh. Currently Max Hypermarket operates a distribution centres and a food and vegetable processing unit in Bangalore. The company plans to set up more distribution centres with proposed expansion plans.

Meanwhile, Landmark group, which operates 12 Lifestyle Stores, five Lifestyle Home Centres, one Baby Shop and 10 Max stores in India, plans to invest $500 million on expansion plans over next three years. This investment includes expansion of its retail, hypermarkets, leisure and hospitality businesses in India. Landmark looking at adding 26 Lifestyle, 10 Home Centres and 50 Max stores in next four years.

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