Italy’s Aspiag Service reported 2021 sales of €2.5 billion – up by 1.7% year on year – while net profit remained in double figures, at €13 million.
Sales of private-label lines, consisting of 6,244 SKUs, accounted for 25.7% of the groups turnover.
The group, which operates the DESPAR brand in the Triveneto, Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy regions, noted that it had invested €103.8 million (+8%) – mainly for opening, restructuring and upgrading stores – in addition to expanding the logistics network.
Fourteen new outlets (five directly-owned and nine affiliated) were opened, taking the store network to 565.
Aspiag Service invested €33 million to open a new DESPAR logistics hub in Castel San Pietro Terme, near Bologna, with 25,500 pallet spaces, further boosting operations in Emilia-Romagna.
E-commerce sales within the group doubled to €5.9 million, with 40 shops (six more than in 2020) participating in the service.
Aspiag Service continued to enhance its local supply chain network through its Sapori del Nostro Territorio (Flavours of Our Territory) brand, which brings together over 3,000 on-shelf references from more than 400 local producers.
It also completed a review of the packaging and mixtures for the new Econvivo private-label brand, for detergents, and the Verde Vera line.
On the environmental and sustainability front, Aspiag Service increased the use of LED lighting systems and the procurement of certified green energy (reaching 88% in 2021), reduced CO2 emissions by 87%, sent over 76% of waste for recycling, increased the use of recyclable packaging and biodegradable bags, and halved the use of plastic, replaced by paper, for fresh vacuum-packed products.
Plans for 2022 include an expansion into Lombardy, where the first Interspar-branded store will be opened by the end of the year.
The growth strategy foresees the opening of 60 DESPAR-branded outlets (directly owned and affiliated) in the 2022-26 period, with an average of 15 stores per year, for an estimated investment of over €300 million.
Pictured are CEO Francesco Montalvo, president Harald Antley and CEO Christof Rissbacher of Aspiag Service.