Spar International has announced the opening of its first store in Malawi today (23 May), making the African nation the 34th country in which the grocery retailer is present.

The store, based in the country's capital, Lilongwe, covers 1,690 square metres and includes several food departments including bakery, meat and delicatessen.

The retailer said that locally-sourced fresh produce will be available in store, alongside a range of Spar private-label products, sourced through a purchasing agreement with Spar Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Spar International managing director Dr Gordon Campbell said: "Following the success of Spar Nigeria opening last year, a suitable partner was found for Malawi who will work closely with Spar International to adapt their expertise to suit local needs. Malawi has a relatively undeveloped retail infrastructure, but it is expanding, and the production of fresh foods in the capital city enables retailers to offer good quality products at value prices."

The retailer has partnered with a company with experience in the retail and finance sectors in Zimbabwe, as well as other African countries, said Campbell.

The retailer plans to open up to 10 more supermarkets and Express convenience stores over the next five years.