17 March 2004

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New mega-supermarket chain plans for Malta

- SISA to import its own brands

By Julian Manduca
Plans are underway to launch a new supermarket chain in Malta, The Malta Financial Business Times can reveal. Taking the void of the Priceclub that crashed so spectacularly, SISA supermarkets of Italy are planning to open up to seven supermarkets in Malta by the end of 2004.
The major difference this time will be that SISA will be selling its own brands from Italy and the EU, rather than relying on the imported products of Maltese companies.
Malta’s entry into the EU will make it much easier for foreign companies to set up business here and the economies of scale of EU based companies will allow them be able to provide stiff competition to Maltese businesses.
The new company could have a major impact on Maltese businesses as both competing supermarkets and importers will have to re-think strategies.
The profit margins on sales of the companies own brands will be higher than what most supermarkets enjoy and importers will be completely cut out of the picture unless the foreign companies decide to purchase some of their products from Malta. It is however, expected that several well-known brands will be bought from companies in Malta, even if most of the products will come from abroad.
A company has been set up to run the supermarkets owned by S Mifsud and Sons, but a commitment has already been made to transfer 70 percent of the shares to SISA.
SMS’s Simon Mifsud to told The Malta Financial and Business Times that a franchise agreement has been reached between the SMS, SISA company and two supermarket companies.
SISA’s finances would seem to be on a much firmer setting than what Priceclub ever achieved and 2003 is expected to register profits of 3,414 million Euros up from the 2002 figure of 2,961 million Euros. The company presently has 1,595 supermarkets and floor space in excess of 600,000 square metres. Sales of the group were in the region of 12,500 million in 2002.
Sergio Cassingena, the national president of SISA recently spoke about the company’s expansion plans and mentioned a strong investment in Greece, but added that plans were being implemented to expand in Europe and the Mediterranean.
SISA started off in 1991 with its own branded products and launched 38 products that year. It now boasts 537 of its own products ranging from foodstuffs to personal hygiene and pet food.
SISA is also linked to a chain of perfumeries and pharmacies, which saw 235 sales points with a turnover of approximately EUR250 million in 2003.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
Tel: (356) 21382741-3, 21382745-6 | Fax: (356) 21385075 | E-mail