Company: Esselunga SPA
Brand value: US$477 million
Headquarter city: Limito di Pioltello (Milan)
Year formed: 1957
Esselunga is a chain of supermarkets that began with a single store in Milan in late 1957. The store opened under the name “Supermarket” but styled with a long S, which gave the brand the name it later adopted, Esselunga (long S). Esselunga now has around 150 stores, mostly in the north of Italy, though there is also a branch in Rome. It has 9 percent share of the Italian grocery market and positions its stores and products as offering greater quality and a better experience than other supermarket chains. There is a focus on freshness, customer service and high-quality own-brand products. It was the first major Italian chain to sell organic products. Esselunga was the first supermarket chain in Italy to introduce online shopping (“Esselunga a casa”) in 2001 as well as the first introducing a service allowing shoppers to use a handheld scanner as they add items to their trolley in stores (“PresoSpesa”) in 2013. Unlike other supermarkets, which have launched new formats and sizes of store to cater to different audiences, Esselunga has stuck with a consistent store format, and follows the same aisle order in each store. Advertising focuses on freshness and low prices, and campaigns are always simple and clever, often using large outdoor sites with eye-catching creative. Their 2001 campaign using fruit and vegetables to represent famous people (such as John Lemon) is still talked about today. Christmas campaigns are fun and lighthearted; the 2016 Christmas TV campaign featured a contest with high-value prizes such as a Smart car and iPhones. Founder Bernardo Caprotti owned the company until his death in 2016; it has now passed into the hands of other family members.