The two Italian retail groups Sisa and Sigma have formed a new buying entity called Distribuzione Italiana. The group’s aim is to achieve better buying conditions from brand manufacturers and realise synergies within marketing, Italian newspaper GDO Week reports. Sigma’s President, Francesco Del Prete, also told the newspaper that the group will be open for other retailer members going forward. Sisa and Sigma will retain their independence in areas other than those mentioned above.
Sisa has been on the search for a new buying group since leaving Auchan-Sma in Italy at the beginning of the year. Sigma should be a nice fit for the retailer as far as assortment is concerned since both organisations serve independent merchants and focus on smaller formats. Another advantage could be that Sisa will enjoy some benefits from Sigma’s existing buying partnership with the country’s grocery leader Coop Italia. The exact future role of Coop Italia in Distribuzione Italiana is still unclear to us, but it most likely would not turn down an opportunity to increase its buying volumes further.
Sisa has been struggling for some time and LZ Retailytics numbers show a sales decrease of 5.18% in 2015 and forecast a continued negative development in the years to come. Two of the group’s independent regions (Northern Italy and Sardinia) filed for bankruptcy in recent years, which clearly shows the importance of this deal for Sisa. Given the Sisa brand's current negative spiral and its reputation for lay-offs and bankruptcies, it is possible that its independent merchants might opt to switch to Sigma banners in the future. In fact, this exact banner swap already happened once in 2014, when all 130 Sardinian Sisa stores joined the Sigma group.