De Sperwer Group has a long, rich history. In the 1920s, with dozens of grocery cooperatives already established in the Netherlands, the need for a national purchasing association was growing.
Together, the cooperatives looked for their own trademark that could also be used as a consumer brand. The first few stores were called Sperwer but, in the years that followed, as more store owners joined and the organization grew and flourished, the name was gradually replaced.
In the 1960s the co-op became 4 = 6; in 1987 that name changed to Plusmarkt; and since 2001, the chain has been known more simply as PLUS. But the name Sperwer – the ‘sparrow hawk’ – has not taken flight: the cooperative itself is still called De Sperwer, and while the name (and much else) has changed since 1928, PLUS remains an organization of, and for, cooperating, independent entrepreneurs.
In addition to PLUS supermarkets, the group is a substantial shareholder in another supermarket chain, Spar, making it an important player in the Dutch independent retail market.