New DESPAR store opens at Bologna Central Station

August 9, 2017 IN THE CATEGORY: Store openings

Aspiag Service, the licence holder for the SPAR Brand in the Northeast of Italy and Emilia Romagna, has opened a new company-owned DESPAR store at the main railway station in Bologna, a major hub for railway traffic in the country.

The store, with a selling surface of 386m2, has long opening hours; trading seven days a week from 7 am until 9pm. Customers can pay for their groceries at one traditional till or three self-checkouts.

Its assortment of around 10,000 SKUs comprises almost exclusively food items with a focus on quality, freshness and convenience. Mr Montalvo, General Manager of DESPAR Northeast, has declared: “We want to stand for quality in Bologna.”

The store employs 20 people, mostly new hires, coordinated by Store Manager, Ivan Gallegra. It has a low environmental footprint with state-of-the-art equipment that has been selected for longevity and sustainability. In particular, the store’s cooling system runs on what’s referred to as a transcritical cycle, which uses exclusively CO2 and no harmful or polluting gasses. High-efficiency chilled cabinets have been installed as well as air conditioning based on heat pump technology and a 100% LED lighting system.

Aspiag Service is the first retailer in Italy to gain certification for its environmental management system. The renovation of both the inside and outside of the store was supervised by the Environment and Cultural Heritage Authority of Bologna.

Aspiag Service is expanding the presence of the DESPAR Brand in Bologna, where it already operates two EUROSPAR Supermarkets and another DESPAR store. The SPAR Brand already has a well-established presence in the North-eastern regions of Italy, where it operates 224 company-owned stores. Aspiag supplies an additional 350 independent SPAR retailers. The SPAR Partner achieved retail sales of 2.7 billion euros in 2016, affirming itself as one of the strongest and most dynamic retail companies in the regions in which it operates, with a market share of 15.61% (source: ACNielsen).

The three Distribution Centres (located near Padua, in Bolzano and Udine) and the 224 stores operated by Aspiag, employ about 7,600 people. “Our company is expanding and generating employment,” said General Manager, Francesco Montalvo. “In Bologna we want to continuously stand for quality, while enacting our commitment of adding value to the communities we serve.”

An example of adding value has been Aspiag Service’s work with Last Minute Market and the Food Bank since the early 2000s, with the aim of preventing waste of unsold food by donating the goods to local charities and associations.

In 2016, the company donated 5.4 million euros worth of unsold food – representing about 1.8 million meals for people in need. The new DESPAR store at Bologna Central Station will also soon be matched with a local charity, becoming part of this impactful cycle.

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