Global retailer Spar International saw annual sales inch up 0.7% to EUR27.2bn (US$42bn) during 2007.

The figure, unveiled today (3 June) at Spar's annual congress in Cannes, compared to revenue of just over EUR27m in 2006

The company, which has over 13,600 outlets in 33 countries, said it had lost over EUR1.3bn in sales in three key markets - Germany, Japan in Finland - due to "major industry consolidation".

Excluding these three countries, Spar saw sales rise by 6.3% last year, it said.

Chief executive Dr Gordon Campbell pointed to "outstanding results" in Austria, Ireland and South Africa, where sales grew.

Sales in South Africa jumped 20%; sales in Ireland rose 7.7%, while revenue from Spar's Austrian stores climbed 4.5%.