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Top 10 Supermarket Retail Chains In Italy

By Branislav Pekic
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Inflation is impacting large retailers in Italy, with consumers increasingly turning to discount stores and promotions – the latter accounting for a third of sales in 2021.

Grocery retail sales declined by 0.1% in 2021, following on from a 5.7% jump recorded during the pandemic lockdown. Preliminary data for 2022 indicates growth of 1.3%.

The retail sector in Italy is significantly less concentrated than in other countries, as the market share of the top five players is 57.6%, compared to 80% in France, 75% in the UK and 73% in Germany. However, in recent years there have been some changes as a result of consolidations.

Here's a snapshot of the top ten supermarket retail chains in Italy, according to their 2021 sales figures.

1. Conad

Turnover in 2021: €16.9 billion

Conad has confirmed its leadership position in the large-scale retail sector in Italy, recording total sales of €16.9 billion in 2021, up 6% on the previous year.

Over the past 15 years, Conad, which is led by CEO Francesco Pugliese, has more than doubled its turnover, while in the past decade its market share has risen by 4.7%, reaching 15.07% as of the end of 2021, or 23.7% in the supermarket channel alone.

Conad’s network consists of 3,332 outlets of different formats, including supermarkets, hypermarkets and discount stores (Todis), in addition to 334 concept stores (pharmacies, opticians, pet stores, and petrol stations). Private label sales grew 5.8% year-on-year to €4.8 billion.

2. Gruppo Selex

Turnover in 2021: €16.9 billion

Gruppo Selex reported turnover of €16.9 billion in the financial year 2021, an increase of 4.3% year-on-year.

With a 14.6% market share, the group is the second largest player in the modern distribution sector in Italy. Consisting of 18 member companies, Selex’s network comprises 3,190 stores across various formats, from superstores to discount outlets.

Its most popular banners are Famila, A&O and C+C, which are flanked by regional brands that are often leaders in their respective territories. Selex Gruppo Commerciale is part of the central buying group ESD Italia, which in turn is a partner of European retail alliance EMD.

Private label sales grew 5.5% year-on-year in 2021 to €1.52 billion, with 90% of sales coming from four brands – Selex, Vale, Consilia and Il Gigante – which accounted for 16% of total sales.

The president of Gruppo Selex is Alessandro Revello, while Maniele Tasca holds the position of CEO.

3. Coop Italia

Turnover in 2021: €14.3 billion

Cooperative retailer Coop Italia achieved a 2021 turnover of €14.3 billion, down from the previous year’s €14.4 billion.

The association of 78 cooperatives managed to slightly increase its market share in the large-scale retail sector, from 12.4% in 2020 to 12.5% a year later, while its overall market share stood at 12.3%. Coop Italia had more than 1,600 outlets as of the end of 2021.

Private label sales accounted for 30% of in-store sales, compared to 27.5% in 2020, with Coop's private label brands including FiorFiore, ViviVerde, Solidal, Bene-si, Coop Origine, Casa and Io.

The president of Coop Italia is Marco Pedroni, while the chief executive is Maura Latini.

4. Gruppo VéGé

Turnover in 2021: €11.95 billion

Italian retail cooperative Gruppo VéGé has seen eight consecutive years of turnover growth, ending 2021 with €11.95 billion in sales, up 5.9% on 2020. Its market share has reached 7.1%, a six-fold increase over the past decade.

The group, led by chairman Giovanni Arena and CEO Giorgio Santambrogio, is a market leader in the Campania, Sicily and Basilicata regions.

It closed the year with 3,836 stores, the most of any nationwide group, with its outlets operating under different formats and banners, including Tosano, Bennet, Multicedi, Arena, Gruppo Isa, Vega, Moderna and Piccolo.

5. Esselunga

Turnover in 2021: €8.56 billion

Esselunga was the first supermarket chain to be introduced in Italy, and to this day is still flagged as a model operator by many.

The company achieved consolidated sales of €8.56 billion in 2021, up by 2.2% on a like-for-like basis, while its market share reached 8.3%.

Esselunga's sales network comprises 168 stores, predominantly located in Northern and Central Italy, all of which are directly-owned. The superstore format dominates, although in recent years Esselunga has been rolling out new formats such as Elisenda and laEsse.

Private label accounts for around 28% of sales, with the store brand offering including brands such as Top, Equilibrio, Bio, Naturama, Esselunga, Pronti da Cuocere, Per chi Ama la Natura, and La Cucina Esselunga.

Marina Sylvia Caprotti is the chairperson and CEO of Esselunga.

6. Eurospin

Turnover in 2021: €8 billion

Italy’s largest discounter, Eurospin, closed 2021 with a turnover of €8 billion. The company has a 6.5% national market share, but is the leader in the hard discount segment in Italy, where it holds close to a third (31.79%) of the market.

Its network consists of over 1,200 points of sale in Italy, many operated under franchise agreements. Eurospin also operates 51 stores in Slovenia and seven in Croatia.

Private label accounts for the overwhelming majority of the group's sales, with over 55 brands featuring in its offering, including Pascoli Italiani, Tre Mulini, Dolciando per i Dolci, Dexal, Bottega del Gusto, and Ordina.

The chairman of Eurospin is Alesssandro Penasa.

7. Lidl Italia

Turnover in 2020/21: €5.5 billion

The Italian unit of German discounter Lidl achieved revenues of €5.5 billion in its fiscal year 2020/21 (+7% year-on-year).

Lidl Italia is eighth in the marketplace in terms of overall market share with 4.7%, but ranks second in the discount channel, with a 21.65% share. Some 20 years after opening its first store in Italy, its network now consists of 700 outlets, with a nationwide presence.

Private label accounted for 80% of sales in the most recent financial year, across 17 private label brands, such as Italiamo, Freshona, Alesto, Latteria, Gelatelli and Cien.

The chairman and CEO of Lidl Italia is Massimiliano Silvestri.

8. Carrefour Italia

Turnover in 2021: €4.4 billion

Carrefour Italia reported sales of €4.4 billion in 2021, down 3% year-on-year, while its market share stood at 7.1% as of year-end.

Carrefour Italia, which is led by CEO Cristophe Rabatel, is the leading franchise operator in the large-scale distribution sector in Italy, with more than 1,500 stores, of which 1,000 are run by franchisees, mostly under the Market and Express banners. In recent years, the French group has shuttered, sold or transformed many of its hypermarkets into smaller stores.

Carrefour Italia sells around 3,000 SKUs under its private label brands, such as Carrefour and Terre d’Italia.

9. Despar Italia

Turnover in 2021: €4 billion

Despar Italia, the Italian concessionaire of the SPAR brand, ended 2021 with a turnover of €4 billion, a 2.2% increase on the previous year.

The retailer operates three store formats – Despar (neighbourhood, small-sized supermarkets), Eurospar (medium-sized supermarkets, ideal for weekly shopping) and Interspar (large-sized supermarkets, similar to hypermarkets).

Its network consists of 1,374 points outlets, of which are 433 directly-owned and 941 affiliated. Private label accounted for 20.6% of total grocery sales in 2021 (+0.3% year-on-year).

The president of Despar Italia is Gianni Cavalieri, while Paul Klotz holds the role of vice-president.

10. MD

Turnover in 2021: €3 billion

Italian discounter MD reported a 2021 turnover of around €3 billion (+5.6% year-on-year) in 2021, and achieved a market share of 15.5%, up from 15.2% in 2020.

It is the third largest player in the discount segment after Eurospin and Lidl, operating around 850 stores as of year-end.

The founder and chairman of MD is Patrizio Podini.

Read More: Top 10 Supermarket Retail Chains In Spain

Read More: Top 10 Supermarket Retail Chains in The UK

© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest Retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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