Pippo Cannillo, president and CEO of Maiora Srl, 38 years this month, graduated in Economics at Bocconi. Young manager of the group born in 2012 from the
fusion between Cannillo Srl and Ipa Sud Spa, owned by the family Peschechera. A challenging role?

We work in a constantly evolving sector where the competition is very strong. Succeeding to satisfy the clients’ requests,
retaining them to your brand is fundamental. Who hesitates is lost.

The numbers of the dealership of the brand Despar in the South are growing year by year.

We closed the year 2017 breaking down, for the first time, the wall of the 800 million of euros at the cashes, even more at the
end of 2018. From the last forecasts it came out that the sales, grown in the first semester compared to a year ago, will keep growing. In particular, the cash&carry are doing well with a predicted incremental of 22,4%. And we need to consider that our fifth sales point, in Crotone, is active since few months.

Reassuring results that keep representing a starting point instead of an arrival one…

The road is still long: the company aims to become leader in the big organized distribution in the Central-South and to
do it, it has to increase its market share. The logic consequence is opening new sales points with the fir brand. In the last
9 months, 31 shops have been opened, 4 of them are directly managed in Trani, Canosa, Pescara and in the train station
of Bari. A wide developing program will lead several other franchising signs to be lit by the end of the year and in April
2018 an Interspar in Terlizzi will be ready. A structure that has been realized, as well as in Trani and Giovinazzo, requalifying
an area that was previously abandoned to neglect and degradation. A pilot test where Maiora is putting great attention
and trust. For the first time in Puglia, it has been created a catering area inside the sales point where the customers can buy
and consume the meals. The structure of the mall is particular also from the architectural point of view and it has been realized using innovative materials respecting the local tradition. In the supermarket the focus will be on the health product. The total investment is about 5 million euros and it implies 40 new hires.

The expansion plans for the new year already started…

The attention will be not just on Puglia, land of origin of the families Cannillo and Peschechera, but also and above all on Abruzzo and Molise, considered as the new frontier. The brand Despar was missing in the last 17 years in Abruzzo. Next to the Eurospar, opened in the center of Pescara, soon there will be others in the hinterland of the city. The same will happen in Molise. At the same time, there are developing plans also for the sign Altasfera.

New openings, hires, innovative projects that imply important investments. Is it a risk in a period in which the Italian economic growth is lower than in other countries of the Eurozone?

The big organized distribution, in addition to the reduction of the consumption due to the economic crisis, above all in not-alimentary products, had to face also the growth of discounts and e-commerce. The key to overcome all of this is working in synergy with the local institutions, beyond the employees.

You decided to invest on the training to be able to rely on a high-qualified working team.

I come from an experience where I learnt that where there’s crisis there is opportunity. And our land offers a lot of opportunities, if you are able to identify them. In addition to the food and job security courses, mandatory by law, courses were provided for 500 people with different profiles, both for back and front office jobs. It is a price we are ready to pay since it gives us an advantage in terms of competition. Better employees help us to take better decisions. The lectures were taken in
the headquarter in Corato and in the other regional sites. The goal is to allow the employees to gain also transversal skills, besides linguistic and informatic skills, necessary to the correct use of new digital means.

A qualified and motivated staff able to anticipate the changes in the food sector.

It is not a mystery that Italians pay always more attention to what they eat. Regarding the great organized distribution, the
sale of bio products increased of 16% and reached a business volume bigger than 1 billion of euros. The sale of whole, vegan, gluten and milk free products increased too. It is becoming difficult to make forecasts. There is a new sensibility to the environmental topics that directly involve the food sector and the market is more and more segmented. What previously was a niche, it is not anymore. For this reason, we try to have a close relationship with the territory, with the clients and the suppliers.

The controls are constant along all the production chain?

If a product does not answer to certain standards, both in quality and sustainability terms, is immediately removed from our
selection. The company wants to be in first place promoter of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. The sales point, the position
of the various assortments, changes to offer to an always more informed and exigent customer, what he really needs. Concretely, Despar Italia, to whom Maiora belongs, launched the line Despar Premium. It furnishes products of the Italian
gastronomic tradition, certified and in addition to the Despar Natural container, to offer a concrete help to the customer
in the choice of certain food categories, with a range made of more than 200 references. The most important changes
in the sales technics were referred to the fruit and vegetables area, that has always represented our strength. In fact, the Despar’s slogan is “passion for the freshes”…