Another highlight on DESPAR Italia’s event calendar was the annual convention from 9-12 May in Sicily, with 400 participants attending, including independent retailers and senior management from the six regional companies. The programme consisted of business sessions to reflect on the current market situation and afternoon workshops for networking and team building. Delegates from SPAR International joined the event.
Of the total €4.14 billion in turnover, 65% was generated by company-owned stores and 35% by independently operated SPAR stores. The independent retailers recorded a double-digit percentage growth (+10.5% compared to 2021), highlighting their strategic role for the SPAR Brand in Italy.
The brand’s growth in turnover was largely influenced by territorial expansion and an increased presence in the regions where it operates. In 2022, 67 new stores were opened, and 53 existing stores were refurbished. Currently, DESPAR Italia operates 1,404 stores across 17 regions, with a total retail sales area of 823,108m2. Of the total 1,404 stores, 418 are owned by regional operators, while 986 are independently owned by SPAR retailers.
With reference to the development in the territories, 2022 saw the strengthening of the network in the North, particularly in Piedmont, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, and the strategic entry into Lombardy. The southern regions invested in store modernisation, particularly in Calabria and Apulia, combined with the overall strengthening of the network, including the islands.
Own brand product development remained one of DESPAR Italia’s key drivers of growth. In 2022, DESPAR Italia achieved a 21.4% own brand share of total grocery sales, an increase of 0.8% compared to 2021. Own brand sales reached €886 million, reflecting a growth of 14.7%.
During the year, DESPAR Italia introduced 200 new own brand products and redesigned 350 existing ones.
“The results achieved in 2022 and the performance recorded by own brand products represent a solid basis on which to build development strategies for the future”, said Filippo Fabbri, General Manager of DESPAR Italia.
“For 2023, we have set an ambitious growth target of more than 5%. This vision entails investing about €95 million to expand our sales network. Simultaneously, we will maintain our focus on own brand products, capitalising on the qualities that have always set us apart: the Italian nature of our products and our collaboration with local agricultural suppliers. Currently, over 98% of DESPAR’s own brand products are sourced from Italy, ensuring their quality, healthiness, and sustainability. Our aim is to further strengthen our position as a trusted brand and a reference point for customers in the regions. We will achieve this by fostering a closer relationship with our customers, who choose us for our commitment to delivering both quality and convenience”, commented Filippo Fabbri regarding the objectives for 2023.
Source: DESPAR Italia
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SPAR Italy, known locally as DESPAR Italia, was first granted the SPAR Brand’s licence in 1959. The first store opened in 1960. With it, SPAR became the first partnership of retailers and wholesalers to operate in the country. In addition, SPAR Italy licenses regional partners, all of whom work together to grow the brand across the country.