Discounters Lead Growth In Italian Grocery Retail Market

By Branislav Pekic
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Discounters Lead Growth In Italian Grocery Retail Market

The total turnover of Italy’s leading grocery retailers has increased from €60.35 billion in 2012 to €65.12 billion in 2016, representing growth of 7.9% during the period, according to a study by Mediobanca.

The highest growth was recorded by discount retailers Lidl Italia (which grew 46.2% to €3.9 billion) and Eurospin Italia (+34.1% to €4.69 billion), which performed ahead of Selex (+18.7% to €10.35 billion), Conad (+13.6% to €12.38 billion), Esselunga (+11.4% to €7.51 billion) and Iper-Unes (+5.9% to €2.59 billion).

Meanwhile, turnover was down at Coop (down 2% to €12.37 billion), Gruppo Pam (-6.1% to €2.35 billion), Carrefour (-4.6 to €4.85 billion), and Auchan (-21.2% to €4.01 billion).

The study also showed that retail turnover grew by 2.2% compared to the previous year.

Retail Network

The total retail sales area in 2016 was practically unchanged compared to 2012, but the number of stores dropped by 1.2%.


The reduction was mainly seen in hypermarkets (-7.7%) and independent retailers (-2.9%), but was compensated by an increase in the number of superstores (+7%) and discount stores (+1.5%). Supermarkets were practically stable (-0.4%).

Since 2012, Carrefour has reduced its sales network by 12.4% to 1,067 stores, while Auchan Italia increased its number of stores from 1,840 to 2,080.

The highest growth in terms of store count was recorded by Eurospin (+16.4%) and Gruppo Pam (+15.9%), followed by Auchan (+13%).

At the end of 2016, the biggest network (including franchised and affiliate stores) was that of Conad with 3,169 outlets, followed by Selex (2,542) and Auchan (2,080).


Market Share

In terms of market share, Coop led the way as of the end of 2016, with 14.2% share, ahead of Conad (12%), Selex (9.9%), Esselunga (9%), Auchan (6.3%), Carrefour (6.1%), Eurospin Italia (6.1%), VeGe (4%), Lidl Italia (3.1%), Gruppo Pam (2.9%) and Iper-Unes (2.8%).

The discount segment accounted for 17% of the market, with the three main players being Eurospin, Lidl Italia and MD Discount.

According to the report, Italy remains a contradictory market. It features a low presence of large format stores (1.4% of the total), while independent retailers account for nearly 50% of the total.

Also, there is a low level of concentration, with the top five players accounting for slightly over 50% of the market, compared to 60-80% in Spain, Germany, France and the UK.


The e-commerce food channel in Italy grew by 35% year-on-year in 2016, reaching €593 million, and should surpass €800 million in 2017 (+37%).

However, e-commerce still has a limited presence in the country, accounting for 2.1% of total turnover at Esselunga, compared to between 4% and 5% at major international players.

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine

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