Valencia Region-based supermarket chain Mercadona says that it will invest eight point five billion euro in the next six years on refurbishing stores in an ever-competitive Spanish market.

Mercadona, which has become Spain’s biggest supermarket chain and one of the country’s biggest employers, with around 84,000 staff, intends to invest a record one point five billion euro this year, when it plans to open 11 new stores.

Founded nearly 40 years ago in the Valencia region, the company also said it would increase spending on its digital transformation in order to become more efficient and boost its online sales.

“We are currently firmly committed towards investing to transform Mercadona. Therefore, more than eight point five billion euro are expected to be invested from equity capital between 2018 and 2023,” Chairman Juan Roig said.

Unlike rivals DIA and Carrefour, the chain has shunned acquisitions, preferring to grow organically.

It has a market share of nearly a quarter of Spain’s food retail market, more than 15 percentage points above DIA and Carrefour.

The company reported a 2017 annual profit of 322 million euro, 49 percent lower year on year, while capital investment was 47 percent higher at a billion euro, it said in a statement.

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