Recovery plan at Italy’s Coop Alleanza 3.0 pays off with return to profit

The results follow a renewed emphasis on the retailer’s core activities

Italian retail co-op Coop Alleanza 3.0 has announced a return to profit in its financial results for 2023, buoyed by a sales growth of 2.6% to reach €5.7bn.

Net profit rose to €20m, up from a loss of €132m the previous year which saw the co-op embark on a five-year recovery plan.

Announcing the results, Coop Alleanza 3.0 said the return to profit shows “the positive effects of the refocusing on the core business, despite the worsening of the inflationary context which has reverberated on the costs and consumption of families, and the consequent pressure of competition in the sector.”

The co-op also recorded an increase in brand sales which, with a growth of €143m on 2022, saw it close the year at €5.73bn in sales, and a significantly improved retail management result – up €41m on 2022).

The net financial position) also improved, reaching approximately €1.8bn.

“The approach to the ambitious objective of reorganisation and construction of an increasingly solid and supportive co-operative is under way.” said co-op president Mario Cifiello. “We reached a particularly significant milestone in 2023, moreover a year ahead of expectations.

“However, it is crucial to consider this as a starting point, not an ending point. We must maintain high attention to carry out the commitment we have made towards our members – guaranteeing the financial and capital solidity of the co-operative without ever abdicating the founding values ​​that support it.

“For this reason, all the strategic choices that we have implemented, as a board of directors representing the members and as a management team, go precisely in the direction of guaranteeing, on the one hand, the efficiency and refocusing of the organisational structure; on the other, the continuation of the co-operative mission of supporting the purchasing power of our members , balancing this objective with the utmost attention to the well-being of employees and the vitality of the supply chains.”

Coop Alleanza 3.0 allocated a total of €120m in 2023 to improve its store network and customer experience. Of this amount, €95m was spent on renovating 50 stores and opening new stores in various locations, including Rimini, Venice, Mantua, and Messeretico.

The co-op has announced plans to continue expanding its store network with three new locations in Bologna, Trieste, and Ferrara, with two more planned in Modena in 2025. Another 20 stores are to be renovated this year.

Other plans include the continued expansion of the own-brand range, with a new line of budget products, Coop Spesotti, to help meet the challenge of discount rivals. Last year, the co-op used part of its budget to absorb a number of price increases.

General director Milva Carletti added: “Last year, Coop Alleanza 3.0 launched a challenging and ambitious strategic plan, based on rigour, efficiency and – above all – a renewed commitment to the co-operative’s characteristic activity.

“Twelve months after the introduction of these paradigms, the first positive effects can be seen. It must be kept in mind that the co-operative still has a long journey ahead of it, but today’s results confirm that the path is the right one: the enhancement of the commercial offer, the evolution of the operating model and the centrality of the members in the project of development are proving to be the cornerstones on which we can relaunch the co-operative and make it increasingly competitive as a company and effective in its social function.

“In this sense, a further figure should be noted, which is also growing compared to 2022: in carrying out its most characteristic function, the mutual exchange, last year the co-operative produced economic benefits for its members amounting to almost €165m, with an increase of approximately €24m compared to the previous year.”

Main picture: Last year also store upgrades, including the Pellestrina supermarket, in Venice, which saw an expansion from 240 to over 350 sq m