Shelf prices increased by 5.5% in the same period, compared to price inflation of around 9% from suppliers.
EBITDA declined to €501.4 million during the financial year from €689.7 million in 2021 as margins contracted due to Esselunga’s strategic decision of cushioning price hikes in order to help customers.
The retailer claims it reduced the on-shelf prices of over 1,500 items by 6% - 8% for five-and-a-half months, and that it always offered goods at prices that were below those of its competitors.
"It has been a year of commitment to customers and employees to protect their purchasing power," Esselunga chairperson and CEO Marina Caprotti told the daily Corriere della Sera.
The past year saw the company returning to the original family structure with the acquisition of 32.5% of the La Villata real estate company, which owns the Esselunga stores, from Unicredit bank for €435 million.
All the companies in the Esselunga group are now fully owned by chairperson and CEO Marina Caprotti and her mother Giuliana Albera.
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In 2022, Esselunga invested €377.4 million in opening eight stores, including four La Esse neighbourhood stores and four new Le eccellenze di Esselunga format in Milan.
After opening a store in Albenga (Savona) last month, the retailer plans to open a second store in Genoa (San Benigno district) at the end of Maym, followed by one in Rome (Viale Liegi) in June, the one in the Lazio region.
In addition, Esselunga has just received the green light from the Council of State to restart construction work on a new 2,500 square-metre supermarket in Lodi, after numerous appeals by Coop and Legambiente.
The retailer currently operates 185 stores, most of which are located in Northern Italy.