Germany grocery store chain Spar has said it expects to post another full-year loss this year, but aims to return to profit in 2005.

The comments from chairman Fritz Ammann came amid speculation that the company’s French owner ITM Intermarche is considering a sale of its stake in Spar, reported Agence France Presse.

Ammann said the grocery chain aims to complete its restructuring programme, which includes selling off many loss-making stores, by 2005.

Spar operates 2,500 Spar and SuperSpar supermarkets in Europe. For the first half of 2003 the company reported an operating loss of €64.5m (US$79.4m), compared to a loss of €60.9m a year earlier.