Emporium: neighbourhood shops in Eni service stations

  Fuels, NEWS & INTERVIEWS

60 stores will be opened by the first week of August. For FAIB, this initiative takes the desired direction of converting service stations into multi-service centres capable of generating new income

Eni service stations now become neighbourhood shops. The project is named Eni Café Emporium and was recently launched in Rome before spreading throughout Italy: 60 stores will be open by the first week of August and further expansion is also expected. These retail outlets will measure no more than 150 square meters in towns with less than 10,000 inhabitants and up to 250 square metres in larger areas. The first four Emporium outlets were inaugurated two weeks ago in Rome (Corso Francia, Circonvallazione Gianicolense and Via Laurentina service stations) and Fiumicino. Others have since been added and there are currently about a dozen.

The initiative is part of a larger plan intended to transform service stations from refuelling points into multi-service centres where customers, in addition filling up with petrol, can have breakfast or a quick lunch break in the Eni Cafè, as well as do some shopping, pay bills or collect Amazon packages. There are, by now, more than 600 Eni Cafès operating at Eni Service Stations throughout Italy. The Emporiums will be opened in some these bar-shops.

The offering envisages consumer goods selected among sector-leading made in Italy brands and an “Emporium selection” of high quality wine and food proposals. Eni Cafés have already led the way by serving menus with 100% Italian ingredients, supported by partners such as Lavazza, Tre Marie, Grandi Salumifici Italiani (which includes Senfter and Casa Modena among its brands), Granarolo and Bonchef. In addition, clients can purchase packaged food and non-food, personal care and car maintenance products.

On the occasion of the official launch, the President of the Independent Italian Federation of Service Stations (FAIB), Martino Landi, welcomed the news in a comment published on the official website. “This is a fine initiative and follows the long-desired direction of creating multi-service and multi-functional service stations capable of generating new income, given the low margins in the petrol distribution sector. The challenge is to convert these initiatives into appeal and profits,” he said. “To do this, we need structured intervention plans capable of ensuring dedicated attention, services and specific expertise and quality in consumer-client areas. It is a fascinating challenge but entrepreneurs must clearly understand how this will mean less focus on petrol pumps and more management of various business services and diversified professional resources,” the President of FAIB warned. “This assumes shared strategic choices for the future of the network which certainly cannot survive in the dual grip of current contracts for the petrol part and the franchise for the non-petrol part. The answer, as far as we are concerned, lies in full business independence of entrepreneur-managers,” Landi concluded.