The Austrian arm of global symbol retailer Spar International is to turn its attentions to expanding its network of smaller supermarket stores in the Czech Republic.

Spar, which to date has focused primarily on hypermarkets in the Czech Republic, currently has four smaller supermarket stores. The retailer said it has plans to build between ten and 12 stores over the next two to three years.

The first will open in Prague in mid-2011.

The supermarkets will have a floor space of 900 sq m - the same size as that of discounters Lidl or Penny Market and only slightly less than the Tesco supermarkets.

"We made this decision because smaller formats are becoming more popular as people due to faster lifestyle want to do their shopping quickly," spokeswoman for the Austrian company in Czech Republic Katerina Reháková told Just-food.

Besides the four supermarkets, Spar currently also operates 33 hypermarkets in the Czech Republic. The only retail chain that solely owns supermarkets here is Billa.