El Arbol sells local stores

Related tags Venture capital Sales

The first stores to be sold under the restructuring plan of Spanish
food retailer El Arbol have been acquired by Extremadura-based
Lider Aliment. The company has bought seven wholly-owned stores and
a network of 70 Spar franchises for an undisclosed sum.

Earlier this week we reported​ on plans by Spanish retailer El Arbol to sell a number of stores as part of its recovery plan. Carrefour subsidiary Dia was thought to be the leading contender to buy the outlets, but in fact the company has signed an agreement with the Lider Aliment group.

According to a report from Europa Press​, El Arbol has sold seven stores in the Extremadura region to Lider Aliment, as well as its entire network of Spar franchises in the same region. The price paid for the stores was not disclosed.

The report said that the sale of the seven stores (six under the El Arbol banner and one under the Spar name) to Lider Aliment will safeguard some 32 jobs. As part of its restructuring programme, El Arbol is laying off around 1,800 workers, but has pledged to try and find alternative employment for as many as possible.

The Spar network sold by El Arbol includes 70 outlets operating throughout Extremadura, employing around 200 people.

The sale is just the first part of El Arbol's programme of disposals designed to help the ailing company focus on its core operations. Recently acquired by venture capital group CVC, El Arbol has been struggling to make money for some time, and was the main reason for the poor recent performance of the Dutch group Laurus, its former owner.

The company has decided to close or sell more than 190 outlets, and is still in talks with three or four other companies - presumably still including Dia - over the disposal of the remaining stores.

Despite the sale of the El Arbol operations in Extremadura, the company said it would remain a major player in that part of Spain with 40 supermarkets and seven cash & carry outlets, according to Europa Press​. Its local market share will now be around 18 per cent.

Sales in Extremadura this year are still expected to rise (by around 4 per cent to €60 million), despite the sale of the stores.

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