What happened in 2021 in large distribution. Mario Sassi's report cards
In the large-scale retail sector, 2021 confirmed the woes of hypermarkets, the strengthening of discount stores and the growth of online. It was also the year of new arrivals in the so-called “last mile” and of attempts, far from successful for now, on the terrain of true innovation. And, without growth and innovation, the obsession remains focused on costs. Especially that of work.
Auchan, beyond the Alps, has tried to acquire the entire Carrefour with the same speed and dexterity with which it has "trimmed" its Italian stores in Conad whose complex realignment will engage the men of the Consortium at least for the whole of 2022. And it will not be a walk. The same goes for Carrefour in Italy, which aims at its reorganization to reverse the trend.
Given the curiosity aroused last year, I decided to propose to those who follow me, ten small and large ideas, initiatives and corporate figures, each important in its own way, from 2021. And which, in my opinion, would have deserved more space.
10th place Amazon.
With the “Piano Italia” in 2021 an investment of 230 million euros with the opening of two new logistics sites. Another 1,100 permanent jobs in three years. In the standings this year thanks to Mohamed. The North African boy chosen for the 2021 advertising campaign. Some have even talked about cynical exploitation. Il Fatto Quotidiano gave the boy a “trained monkey” as well as other non-professional testimonials chosen from among the company's workers. I liked the spot. Choosing a young immigrant worker as an example these days conveys a strong and demanding message given the climate and the general lack of sensitivity on the subject.
Amazon chooses to tell about itself through an example of positive integration that involves the second generation of immigrants and underlines the importance of regular work in the logistics sector, which is characterized by anything but positive phenomena. Anticipate what the near future of the job market will be with us too. Mohamed represents the multicultural society that awaits us. Not a problem to hide. And appreciating this does not detract from the reasons of those who claim a market that must have the same rules and a more balanced tax for the multinationals of the web.
9th place at the “unknown” Franchisee.
He is a growing figure. Covered by the franchisor's sign, it signals the presence of an interesting and highly developed entrepreneurial dimension that summarizes within itself the enthusiasm but also the difficulties that those who want to be an entrepreneur must face today. It also works where noble companies, multinationals or nationals, “throw in the towel”. With his presence and enthusiasm he characterizes the galleries of the shopping centers and the windows of the outlets.
In large-scale distribution, 2021 was their year. Some experts do not consider it a winning choice for large retailers. In their opinion, they could mark the definitive decline of the companies in the sector that have believed in it and continue to believe in it. Concern shared by the trade union which underlines the difficulty in relating to build normal trade union relations. For others, on the contrary, they will constitute a decisive hub for overcoming local crisis situations and aiming for a relaunch. The answer to 2022.
8th place Lidl.
A sign that is always one step ahead. The controversy towards discount stores by traditional GDO companies is now behind us. Another sign that they are winning. Here in the ranking because they understood before others that panettone can be a “flirtatious” product to do good together with the Red Cross. Not just to sell more. And then for two equally interesting HR projects: “WOMENINLIDL” and “Lidl for Tomorrow”. concrete investments in women, the new generations and their collaborators, underlining their corporate interest. Customers, women and work as distinctive elements of the brand. In other words, identity, involvement and pride of belonging.
7th place Esselunga.
Another reality that promotes many initiatives in the social field, for the enhancement of its collaborators and for the communities in which it is inserted. Here in the standings for that "Sale il Carovita, let's lower the prices" slogan a bit vintage that signaled the return of the brand to the fundamentals. It is not just a question of different pricing strategies. Between discounts and aggressive promotions or “low prices, always”, each brand chooses its positioning. Without forgetting that, in large-scale distribution, prices have always increased without great fanfare and lowered with trumpet blasts as needed. This was an intelligent game of anticipation at a particular moment on a highly political and social sensitive issue, as demonstrated by the agitations in the French large-scale retail trade triggered by the resumption of inflation. An operation (obviously) largely of marketing which, however, is in tune with the concerns of consumers. It is also a "signal of war" to those who, upstream of the large-scale retail trade, hypothesized the need for generalized increases.
There is no longer Bernardo Caprotti and not even the CEO who wanted to be CEO (in his own way) Sami Kahale. Marina Caprotti is her father's daughter. And it shows. Difficult to delegate the helm to others. Choosing Gabriele Villa as GM is a clear sign. He is one of the family. Caprotti senior, very attached to Villa, went to take it back to China where he was working for Metro which had taken it away from him a few years earlier. The new GM knows every nook and cranny of Esselunga. His task is to restore rhythm and objectives to the team where it is present with its traditional formats. The “Esse” are elegant but certainly not sufficient. The real fight is not played there. And Esselunga, unlike other brands, will always be forced to compete with itself and with its own history. We will see Villa's hand in 2022 and the entrepreneurial strategies of what continues to be top of the class, wherever it is present. Competitors are advised. Esselunga is back ..
6th place Coop.
At his head a woman. Like the "archenemies" of Esselunga. It too grew up on the shelves. Except that Maura Latini really filled them. She is therefore a professional who has known the grass from the side of the roots. Not bad if the weather turns bad. They have always done remarkable social initiatives. But this is in their DNA. In the standings once again thanks to Beatrice Ramazzotti (Coop Tirreno Press Office). This year it launched a campaign that aims to make all the brands reflect a little: the "tapes". The epic of the inauguration of stores with women in the fixed role of tape holder. Always. Assigned to a subordinate role, ancillary while the men always cut. Roles, vices and habits to overcome. Beatrice Ramazzotti will not give up easily. I will gladly offer you a hand. Over one hundred thousand views testify that the time has come to shake off these (and many other) male-dominated habits in large-scale distribution. I add my invitation to the CEOs: give yourself a move. Your men aren't making a good impression on us.
5th place Carrefour France.
Alexandre Bompard is transforming the sign into the first European digital retail company. Bompard is, in my opinion, among the top five top managers of international GDO. Vision, strategy and the ability to choose and motivate a great team by his side. He tried to sell the company to Couche Tard to strengthen it but failed due to the sloth of politics and avoided the stalker of Auchan. The latter have smelled the deal and will try again. We will see what the CEO of Carrefour will do. Bompard also catapulted Cristophe Rabatel from Poland to Italy with an arduous task: erasing the past, putting the accounts in order and resuming navigation on this side of the Alps. Also for Rabatel 2022 will be a decisive year.
4th place Multicedi and Arena leading companies in Campania and Sicily.
In 2020 they managed to involve one of the most experienced managers in the sector and his right-hand man, in Decò Italia. The couple Mario Gasbarrino and Gabriele Nicotra. In 2021 the facts with the "Gastronaut" arrived. However, there are not only excellent managers. On the helm station there are also capable and visionary entrepreneurs without whom the journey would not have even started. A crackling 2022 awaits them. We can only cheer for this proud, stubborn, enterprising South. And that the PNRR represents, seriously, the driving force for a real turning point of the whole noon.
3rd place Bennet.
For a Lombard like me, this sign cannot not always be in the rankings. It holds up its formats better than its competitors, gives lessons in balance and performance to everyone. In recent years it has completely repositioned itself. He always manages to surprise with social commitment. Since 2014 she has been involved with Gold for Kids of the Umberto Veronesi Foundation dedicated to the fight against pediatric cancers. It funds scientific research on childhood and adolescent cancers to identify the best treatments. A special mention would go to Simone Pescatore, the company's Marketing Director. Solid experience in the sector, innovative ideas, vision and competence. To follow in your career.
2nd place Conad.
Much could be written about the excellent 2021 results and the social initiatives of the individual cooperatives. In perfect harmony with a country that knows it can resume its own path together with the very recent claim of the Christmas campaign "the best of the future is in the community". It expresses the awareness of its service role linked to the territory in which it operates. Here, however, in the standings for its entry into Confcommercio. It is the real novelty of the year. An important and courageous choice made in a particularly delicate phase in the life of the confederation in Piazza Belli. Present for some time in Coop, Confesercenti and Confcommercio, the Consortium has been reflecting for some time on how and where to enhance its weight to try to affect the world of representation today struggling with excessive associative pluralism.
In 2022 we will understand if this choice will actually contribute to the simplification of the reference framework as it seems to be in the intentions or, on the contrary, the jealousies of the sign and the juxtaposition of interests between competitors will win once again.
1st place Gorillas.
Among the unicorns of the last mile it is the one that seemed to me to be the most interesting. I was struck by the fact that they didn't "waste" too much time telling who they were. Only the chosen name of the German company could have requested it. They insisted more on their specificity. And on the importance of relationships with suppliers and the engagement of collaborators, thus breaking away from the group of new entries in quick commerce. In Italy it is led by Giovanni Panzeri, an experienced manager who comes from Carrefour and before that from Conad. Never has a service business grown so rapidly. Just a short while ago, no one had ever heard of quick trade. References as required and dark stores located in such a way as to allow delivery within ten minutes. A business model that necessarily focuses on volumes thanks to technology and efficient logistics.
This is, once again, my very personal ranking of what intrigued me this year.
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/economia/pregi-e-difetti-di-coop-conad-carrefour-lidl-e-non-solo/ on Sun, 26 Dec 2021 08:20:53 +0000.