In 2018, 29 new SPAR stores were opened, bringing total store numbers to 1,244. Of these, 428 are company-owned, while 816 are run by independent retailers. Plans are in place to open 50 new stores and renovate 36 in 2019, with a total investment of €95 million across all DESPAR Italia Partners. Market share was reported at 18.7% with further growth anticipated to exceed 20% by 2020.
People and innovation
The theme of this year’s DESPAR Convention was People and Innovation, emphasising the strong involvement DESPAR Italia has with the communities it serves. The convention was opened by DESPAR Italia President, Paul Klotz, who shared the figures of 2018 with the audience.
At this year’s event, a lot of attention was given to own brand product development. In his presentation, Lucio Fochesato, General Manager at DESPAR Italia, focused on how own brands are a key factor in determining where consumers choose to shop.
The buying turnover for own brand products grew by 7.7% in 2018, reaching €334 million and making up 19.2% of total retail sales – higher than the market average of 18.8%. At present, DESPAR Italia has more than 3,000 own brand products across 13 different ranges.
Own brand excellence was also recognised internationally, with DESPAR being acknowledged for the third time at the Private Label Manufacturers Association Awards, an event that takes place annually in Amsterdam. Two DESPAR wines won the International Salute to Excellence Award.
In terms of future strategy, Fochesato stated the aim of increasing own brand sales, such that they make up 20% of total retail sales by 2025. He also noted that going forwards, own brand product development will focus on two specific goals: To improve healthy choices for consumers by reducing fat, sugar and salt content, increasing fibre and reformulating serving sizes. Secondly, to introduce new sustainable packaging solutions, such as resealable and 100% compostable packaging.
Source: DESPAR Italia
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About SPAR Italy
SPAR International first granted a licence for the operation of the SPAR Brand to SPAR Italy in 1959. The first store opened in the latter part of 1960 and with it, SPAR became the first partnership of retailers and wholesalers to operate in Italy. SPAR Italy, known locally as DESPAR Italia, licenses regional partners, all of whom work together to grow the brand across the country.
The DESPAR Partners operate stores under three formats: DESPAR Neighbourhood Supermarkets, EUROSPAR Supermarkets and INTERSPAR Hypermarkets. Many of the larger format stores are company-owned, reflecting the scale of investment required. While the majority of the company’s turnover is acquired through these larger format stores, the independently owned neighbourhood supermarkets remain a key part of the business.