Italian grocery retail group Alì has opted to close its stores on Sundays and holidays in order to save on energy bills.
In addition, the supermarket group, mainly located in the Veneto region, is increasing the production of renewable energy, using heat produced by refrigerators to heat sanitary water, rolling out photovoltaic systems and switching to LED lamps, allowing to cut consumption by half.
Speaking to daily Corriere del Veneto, company VP Gianni Canella pointed out that Ali has made a lot of efforts to curb price increases due to high energy prices, rising industrial prices and expensive transportation, to cushion the effects on customers' purchasing capacity.
Savings from the Sunday store closures is likely to have a limited effect, as refrigerators, which are the highest source of electricity consumption, cannot be turned off.
In fact, turning off refrigeration even for a short period, would put consumers at risk as it would affect the cold chain, accelerating the deterioration process of refrigerated and frozen food.
Frozen foods in supermarkets must always be kept at very low temperatures (below -18 degrees Celsius), otherwise the partial thawing of the food would make it no longer safe and suitable for consumption.
The costs of refrigerators therefore are defined as non-compressible costs since their presence must always be guaranteed.
In addition, there is also the problem of competition: if rivals stay open, the risk by closing is losing customers.
According to Federdistribuzione's communications director, Marco Magli, bills for food retailers have increased fourfold, while their incidence has gone up from 1.5% to 6%, for a sector that has low margins, of around 1.5%.
© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.