During March, the declaration of the COVID-19 health crisis and the introduction of various measures to restrict movement brought about a wave of panic buying, leading to record levels of turnover in food retail stores. Spar responded by increasing its workforce by about 900 between 16 March and 30 March, according to a 2 April press release. New employees were hired not only for the shops, but also for the logistics centre, the Regnum Meat Factory and Training Centre, and in the administrative centre in Bicske. There is no information, however, about whether the new hires at that time were employed on a permanent or a temporary basis.
Update 17/04/2020: In mid-April, the Hungarian government announced the introduction of a special tax to be paid by retail firms. This tax primarily puts a burden on large multinational retail chains like Spar, since the tax rate grows with the overall turnover of firms. The tax revenue is to be channelled into the newly established Epidemic Protection Fund.
Spar stated that, burdened with this new tax, it cannot hold up the enlarged level of its workforce anymore, hence they will return to the personnel level envisaged for this year in early March, that is, before the virus crisis officially reached Hungary. The management did not specify the exact number of employees to be dismissed nor their contractual position, but it is likely to be commensurate with the previous business expansion.
In addition to the dismissals, other cost-cutting measures will also be introduced at Spar.