Villa San Giovanni - Italy: Conad & “Perla Dello Stretto”

October 02, 2015

Our Italian guest columnist Antonell Vilardi profiles the shopping experience of Perla Dello Stretto.

 By Antonello Vilardi

Villa San Giovanni, in the province of Reggio Calabria, is the point of Italy and the European continent closest to Sicily.

With about 14,000 inhabitants and a strategic position in transport by sea, it is certainly never distinguished itself by the attention of mass retailers, so the retail trade in the past has always revolved exclusively around the laborious tasks of effective entrepreneurial figures, diplomatic and interactive with the institutions, but small and underdeveloped.

With the almost total absence in the area of modern and strong distribution, it is not easy to make out the real motivation: the border that divides the obstacle represented by the local interests and the actual lack of interest of the major brands to invest in local communities economically weak is imperceptible.

Among these premises, curiosity grows around the opening of a modern superstore showing the brand CONAD, which occurred on July 22, 2015, inside the Shopping Centre "Perla dello Stretto” (“Pearl of the Strait"), now managed by the Company COGEST RETAIL.

The shopping center, measuring 13,600 square meters with 600 parking spaces and 50 stores, opened in 2004, has never stood out for commercial success, and the failure to take off was likely caused by the absence of a valid initial towing based on sale of groceries.

The CONAD superstore inside measures 3,495 square meters, of which 800 are fully dedicated to Fresh Departments.

  • There are no comparable commercial units within 15 minutes travel time; 
  • the catchment area deployable amounts to about 90,000 people;
  • automotive and pedestrian traffic of the port, located a short distance, is worth about 216,000 per day.

The commitment, justified by the numbers just mentioned, takes place through the cooperative linked to the consortium CONAD named PAC 2000 A, operating not only here in Calabria, but also in Umbria, Lazio and Campania.

Lay out.

Twelve cash desks, the input is abnormal in the right in which unfolds the perfume department, but soon returns to a normal configuration when emerges the vast area of central entrance, occupied by the promotion of the moment, both ground (on pallets) and wall (on shelves).

Continuing on the right, over the perfumery, meet respectively petfood, household goods and perishable self-service (located inside a modern refrigerated counter with doors, with many closing doors as there are display units).

Atypical appearance, which, however, looks good, is the entire area of the freshest, made from blocks shaped island for fruit and vegetables and the counter service for cutting meats and cheeses, down to the superstore, opposite the end wall of the sales area, in which there is a particular zone with production of “pizza”, “calzoni”, "arancini", “mozzarelle in carrozza”, the first and second courses takeaway, beyond fishmonger and butcher (served and take away).

The consumer packaged goods they stop in the middle of the sales area, the bench of mineral waters and frozen (with modules refrigerator ground) occupy the final part of the tour.

Unsurprisingly the option of having gone into fruits and vegetables in place so far from the entrance, but the vision of a whole fresh proves equally captivating, capturing the consumer feelings of quality and freshness of a wide range of choices available.

Promotional catalog.

A structure so large, also made to seduce consumers more sensitive to the offers, it is natural that it is prepared to offer frequent and comprehensive promotional activities.

However the question remains that, in the excess, can be identified as clearly useful to resolve the confusion and focus on the perception of quality and convenience.

Simply put, at the time of the visit (Wednesday, September 23 at 7:00 pm), there were five different projects in progress:

1. Flyer official period (“TAGLIO NETTO”, translated "Chop", from Wednesday 16 to Sunday, September 27);

2. Episode “C’E’ DI PIU’”, translated "THERE MORE”, only Sunday, September 27;

3. Specific activities for the loyal "FOR OWNERS OF CARDS INSIEME CONAD" and "INSIEME CONVIENE";

4. Supplement Convenience Conad (Wednesday 23 to Tuesday, September 29);

5. Promotional Catalog "No Food" ("Conad ... lower prices", valid tenders in September 2015).

In this situation, describe the effectiveness promotional lines becomes problematic thing.

Let's say that…

The official flyer (point 1) consists of 28 pages, the first of which provided only to the resonance that can have semi-skimmed UHT milk POLENGHI, brik 1 l., to € 0.50 (framing of this discount, starting price € 1.09) for loyalty card holders (with limitation to 36 pieces purchased);

Then… a leading article on the front page, with price not particularly aggressive, only loyal and limitation;

The strategy seems quite daring: you chose to invest costs and visibility of a promotion for twelve days to achieve consensus and maintain only the example of one liter of milk Polenghi fifty cents, however, valid only for the benefit of loyal customers, who they can purchase a limited quantity;

Pages two and three are devoted to "organic", with the following message: "meet you, it is natural for us. And with the line Conad Organic we do with more attention: many healthy, tasty and genuine, obtained with methods that respect biodiversity and proper cycles of nature, and a commitment to responsible energy and natural resources. A conscious choice to rediscover the taste of loving, doing good for the environment".


2 pages of "butcher";

1 of "fruit and vegetables";

2 of "fresh" for perishable refrigerated counter and self-service;

1 of "gastronomy" (meats and cheeses);

2 of "INSIEME CONVIENE" (special insert dedicated to loyalty card holders);

1 of "frozen";

5 of "grocery";

1.5 of "personal care";

0.5 of "all useful" (lady slippers and assorted pots and pans);

1 of "care home" (detergent and paper towels);

1 of "speeding up the collection points with a specific list of items";

6 of "low and fixed prices" (CONAD brand products, with prices reduced up to December, 30 2015);

1 page finally reserved to loyal again, with 4 items in evidence (although there were two more inside, already browsed and titled “INSIEME CONVIENE” (which translated means something like "if we do things together you better"). 

We also say that ...

If, as a consumer, I am spending on September 23 it can easily happen that I confuse trying to buy a product than those on offer "only Sunday 27" (point 2): they do not appear on a separate sheet, but are only at the last page of "Supplement Convenience", in force from 23 to 29!

Handle any embarrassment with customers is uncomfortable (perhaps it would be better to separate the paper, but by then the paper material in circulation (Promotional offer on the overall) would reach unmanageable size, sowing further confusion and increasing costs);

supplement convenience (point 4) offers additional prove valid,  because supplementary to official flyer and there is no overlap; retrieve contact opportunities with other suppliers, but have the disadvantage of not represent localism. 

Prices on products made by brand.

Grocery portion of the set, indicative of the positioning in the Italian market:

  • Pasta Barilla 500 g. € 0.74;
  • FERRERO Nutella 630 g. € 4.49;
  • FERRERO Nutella 450 g. € 3.36;
  • S. ANNA natural water 1.5 l. € 0.45;
  • Estathe FERRERO 1.5 Lemon / Peach € 1.89;
  • COCA COLA (COKE) 1 l. € 1.09;
  • COCA COLA 1.5 (COKE) l. € 1.55;
  • PERONI Beer 66 cl. € 1.15;
  • MORETTI Beer 66 cl. € 1.24.

In order to synthesize the few, but objective information acquired on the Conad Superstore located in Villa San Giovanni, compared on a model Coop brand in a different region and as far away as Tuscany (the "Big Superstore" Ipercoop of Cascina (PISA)),it is reproduced below a table.

Of these products on average in high rotation and fully comparable, stands out as Heineken, which owns the trademark MORETTI and COCA COLA are able to maintain impressive consistency both domestically and on different signs, though at a considerable distance.

BARILLA seems more convenient to the south of Italy, FERRERO to the north.


This superstore “CONAD” represents very well the sign in the territory, with a model that stands out in the area for rare quality, organization and completeness, but it maintains with difficulty the estimated goal of making clear and convenient to all the promotional offers.

CONAD via Zanotti-Bianco, 44/48 - 89018 Villa San Giovanni (RC)

Scene 4

Fresh 4

Assortment 4

Location 4

Convenience 3

Promotional Catalog 1

(Scale values from 0, lowest to 5, highest)

Antonello VILARDI, originally published in Italy by RETAIL WATCH (