Retail

Spontini bets on the Middle East

The Milanese pizza brand has announced an agreement with the Alshaya group for the opening of 34 stores in the Middle East in the next 7 years

In an increasingly competitive context, if we want to grow and achieve the objectives we have set for ourselves, we need to improve both our domestic and international networks. This is how Massimo Innocenti, the tireless CEO and founder of Spontini, the famous Milanese sliced pizza brand, sums up the development strategy of his company, which includes areas such as the Middle East and even further. We decided to try the franchising formula, we deliberately chose a very distant and different market from ours. We have two Pizzerias in Tokyo and we are getting ready to open another two, still within very important malls, in Yokohama and Fukuoka. Our experience so far tells us that this market is not easy at all. Anyway, so far, the results have proved to be positive overall: they have been fair and helpful with us, and we have respected the local customs. For example, we have introduced a salad in the menu, which in this country is consumed every day.

Spontini CEO Massimo Innocenti

The Middle East challenge

The real challenge for the next few years is the international market. The first step is the Middle East. Last February, Massimo Innocenti announced both the next worldwide openings and the agreement with Alshaya Group, a retailing giant specializing in acquisition and development, through franchising, of food and non-food brands such as Starbucks and H&M. The first phase of the agreement, explained the CEO of Spontini, includes 34 new openings in the next seven years in Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Quatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan. This partnership makes us proud because Spontini is the first ever Italian brand to work with the Alshaya Group in the Middle East. The first opening is scheduled for August 16, 2018 at The Avenues Mall, the largest mall in Kuwait: a giant with more than 800 stores, two hotels (difficult to imagine a comprehensive visit in one day). The structure, last year alone, registered 48 million visitors. The agreement includes a second and a third stage of development, which will involve other very promising and new regions such as North Africa, Turkey, and Russia. Spontini’s core activities will still focus on food products in the Italian market and, in particular, in the Milan area, adds Innocenti, obviously with the necessary changes to the menu necessary for the different market scenarios. This is why, today more than ever, we can consider Spontini a truly global Milanese brand. We think Spontini will offer something unique and authentic to our discerning customer base, said Mohammed Alshaya, Executive Chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co. With its simple approach to handmade, quality pizza, and a strong sense of heritage and tradition, it will be an exciting addition to our portfolio of world-leading food brands.

Spontini in numbers

Founded in 1953 and taken over by the Innocenti family in 1977, the company’s 2017 turnover was 23.5 million euro (+11.2% in the previous year). It boasts 24 points of sale, of which 16 are owned and eight franchised. Two of the latter were opened in 2015 in Japan, part of the first stage of international expansion.

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