“Our stores, large and small, are staying open and well stocked. This is important information for our local communities so that they can plan their shopping trips without having to rush all at once to do their grocery shopping”, said Francesco Montalvo, Managing Director of Aspiag Service.
On 10 March, the Italian government strengthened preventative measures by closing schools and suspending many gatherings and events until 3 April. DESPAR Aspiag has implemented all protective measures and guidelines issued by Italy’s Ministry of Health and local authorities since the beginning of the outbreak in Italy in February.
To protect team members, certain activities, such as any non-urgent training, business meetings and trips, staff recruitment, and job interviews, have been postponed until further notice. DESPAR is also complying with the protective measures imposing a minimal distance of one metre to be kept between individuals instore.
“We have been working with great commitment in our stores, central offices, and distribution centres. Since the beginning of the outbreak, we have recorded peak footfall levels at our SPAR stores and have shown a dedicated and efficient reaction, for which I wish to thank all of our colleagues and suppliers”, said Francesco Montalvo.
“In this particular situation, we are aware of the role we play as retail company and are acting on this with great responsibility towards our colleagues and our customers”, he added.
All stores, DCs, and central offices are exchanging information constantly with the management team to provide real-time updates both on footfall and sales levels, as well as on the relevant operations that need to be performed to ensure the best possible operations management for SPAR employees.
Last week, a DESPAR truck loaded with non-perishable food and hygiene products delivered its goods in Vo’ Euganeo, one of the municipalities in the Veneto region that has been quarantined due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The delivery, a donation from Aspiag Service, was performed following all necessary protective measures and in partnership with local authorities to support local communities that have been isolated for about two weeks.
Source: DESPAR Partner Aspiag Service, DESPAR Ergon and DESPAR Italia
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About SPAR Italy
SPAR Italy was first granted the licence to operate the SPAR Brand 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 the country. 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.