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Strategic Pillars

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DIA has three transversal priorities for its business for the coming years:

The first priority is essential: to keep the customer at the heart of all the company’s decisions. The second priority is to undertake a digital transformation within the group that extends to all levels. The third priority is to develop new avenues of growth, through the search for new business opportunities. All of this is within the framework of an unwavering commitment to the DIA franchise, the best operational model for managing the proximity business, and a fundamental pillar of profitable growth.

Geographically, DIA’s organic growth in the coming years is based on the unprecedented growth potential of emerging markets, mainly Brazil and China, as well as the consolidation of more mature markets such as Spain.


Over the last five years, the DIA Group has been operating in a highly competitive environment in continuous transformation, in which the distribution sector has had to deal with one of the periods of most change. Shifting consumer habits in each of the countries in which it operates has driven the company to implement new plans and strategies that pursue its firm proximity strategy, accompanied by the highest-quality commercial offering at the best price and a cost-efficient model.

With the exception of the Portuguese market, the countries in which the DIA Group operates have a low sector concentration, with highly regional operators specializing in the development of proximity purchasing. In this context, DIA has played a leading role in recent years in the few concentration transactions that have taken place in the sector, gaining specific weight and leveraging the corresponding synergies.

The ageing of the population recorded in recent years in all of these markets has also played an important role in the strategy carried out by the leading companies in the distribution sector, with a new shift in habits seeing consumers shopping closer to home and more frequently, rather than making large monthly shopping trips to superstores. The commitment to proximity that DIA has been making since its beginnings more than 35 years ago, has allowed it to have a leading position in this segment and greater knowledge of local offerings, with over 85% of its network being proximity stores.

The various acquisitions made in recent years have served to create a multichannel, multi-brand system seldom seen up to now in the international retail business, and the success of which is based on synergies between formats. Accordingly, the opportunities arising from these transactions have resulted in a type of establishment where customers can do all their shopping, not only adding efficiency to the value chain, but also to the experience itself.

A story of consistent, profitable growth in food retail

# of stores

CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) 10.0%

DIA banner franchised stores (%)

CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) 17.2%

Gross Sales Under Banner

CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) 5.7% (12.4%)*


CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) 7.3% (11.7%)*

*Ex-currency, excluding France and Turkey. 

Proximity, profitability and internationalization

The DIA Group has a business model that places the customer at the heart of its business, based on an innovative concept of constant improvement that incorporates the profitability of all the players in its value chain. Its geographical development in Iberia and Latin America offers a wealth of opportunities for organic and inorganic growth in both regions, creating a business model that reflects solid cash-flow generation, an attractive investment return and shareholder profitability that is higher than the sector.

Since its flotation on the Stock Exchange in July 2011, DIA’s business plans have always revolved around the strategy of achieving organic growth through the consolidation of business in Iberia (its main market) and unprecedented expansion in the Latin American market, with a management approach that always prioritises efficiency and responsible resource management.

Accordingly, over the 2010-16 period, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of sales reached 12.4% in local currency, while adjusted earnings per share (EPS) exceeded 12%, thanks to the efficient and sustained growth that has led to the opening of more than 3,300 new stores during this period, of which 75% are franchises.

This sustained business development is also based on a committed investment policy, focusing primarily on transformations, new openings, and acquisitions, which have led to an investment of more than EUR2.5bn over the last six years, together with a responsible control of its debt, which amounted to EUR878m in December 2016.

The multi-format, multi-brand proximity business model, supported in turn by a loyalty programme that has a customer base of more than 32 million (2 million new customers join the loyalty programme each year), allows for a unique level of knowledge of customer behaviour, promoting and working on price image through specific promotions and close collaboration with suppliers. Constant innovation in these commercial formats also facilitates the progressive expansion of a model that avoids cannibalization and meets the daily needs of its customers.

The DIA logistics chain integrated in all countries uses systems and programmes that it develops itself, allowing the company to offer a rapid response to the specific needs of the proximity model, which requires maximum efficiency and flexibility in all processes. Its 38 logistics centres, comprising over 700,000 square meters, make up the core of an innovative and profitable customer-oriented business model. Over the last four years, DIA has managed to lower distribution costs by four points.

Leading industry returns, well ahead of sector average

Sector average 11.9%

ROI=EBITDAR / Average invested capital.
Average invested capital= Equity + Net debt + Average D&A + 5x Rent adjustment.
Market average defined as the average of Carrefour, Casino, Jeronimo Martins, Metro, Morrisons, Sainsbury, Sonae and Tesco.
*Data excluding acquisitions.

Multichannel customer and innovation

The ongoing investment in prices, combined with improved customer service, is showing results in all the countries in which the company operates, increasing comparable sales growth above that of the respective markets. During 2016, the increase in sales in comparable areas has been positive in all of DIA’s markets, reversing the negative trend of the last two years as a result of the consumption crisis. Specifically, this past year consolidated comparable sales were 8.9%, a figure higher than the majority of the sector and a record for the company since its flotation on the Stock Exchange in 2011.

The new needs and new customer profiles have also prompted an updating of the commercial offer. In addition to fresh food as the fundamental pillar in its proximity approach, which already exceeds 13% of sales, the DIA Group has an ongoing innovation policy that has concluded with the expansion of its portfolio of own label products, which totals more than 7,500 SKUs and which currently completes all categories.

In recent years, DIA’s commercial strategy has led it to have the best price image in three of the five countries in which it operates: (Spain, Argentina, and Brazil), further propped up by the extraordinary penetration of its own-label products: over 50% in Iberia and around 35% in emerging markets, and accompanied by a big promotional effort that has led DIA to post healthy comparable area growth, above the rate of inflation. In 2016, the company carried out both daily and weekly promotions, involving 15% of the product range.

The search for synergies in pursuit of efficiency has also led DIA to conclude negotiating agreements with other operators in the sector in order to improve purchasing conditions. Agreements such as those signed last year with Eroski in Spain, Intermarché in Portugal, and Casino for its own-label products in all of its markets are focused on offering a product range based on the best prices for its customers, thus increasing the possibility to continue to invest in improving promotions.

DIA’s omni channel commitment over the last few financial years has also allowed a significant development in the area of e-commerce, mainly in the Spanish and Chinese markets. Although online sales in Spain currently represent 1% of total sales in the food sector, growth potential and customer-related opportunities are now unlimited. DIA’s app has already been downloaded more than 500,000 times in Spain for its online business, in addition to the increasing development of the non-food channel of the Clarel web, which sells all over Spain, and the DIA flash Opportunities sales site that mainly sells electronic and technology products. This strategy has already been exported to other countries with the start of e-commerce operations in China and with the launch of Opportunities in Argentina.

Complementary to this multichannel strategy, during the 2016 financial year, various digital projects have been undertaken, along with third-party agreements that have positioned the company at the forefront of the sector in the area of e-commerce, always aimed at further satisfying the needs of an increasingly digital consumer. Some examples of this initiative to open new customer-oriented channels are: 1) the agreement with Amazon to introduce La Plaza DIA products in its Prime Now service in Spain: 2) the joint project with ING Direct to offer the possibility of cash withdrawal at stores: and 3) the agreement with the online Netease and T-Mall sales platforms in China.

The franchise

The DIA franchise system provides additional flexibility and efficiency to its operations, allowing it to explore options in greater depth and enhance its proximity strategy. As a result of this commitment, the company is now positioned among the leading 20 franchisers in the world, with its franchises representing 48% of the total store network and 60% of the DIA banner.

This represents a win-win relationship with its franchisees, where DIA offers its operational capacity and historical business expertise, and entrepreneurs contribute greater knowledge of personalized service and knowledge of the local market, thus strengthening the proximity offering.

The company’s commitment to its franchisees is also reflected in the financial support that it grants them for the start-up and good functioning of the business. In 2016 alone, the DIA Group granted additional financing to its worldwide franchise network, raising the total credit assigned to EUR106m.

In the last five years, the growth of the franchise in the network of stores under the DIA banner has been exponential, and currently there are more franchised stores than own stores in three of the countries in which DIA operates. (China, Brazil, and Argentina). In 2011, franchised stores under the DIA banner represented 38% of the total number of stores, compared to just over 60% at the close of 2016.

In business terms, the DIA franchise is the most efficient model for proximity shopping, making it in turn possible to isolate the profitability of market-specific fluctuations, while fostering store network expansion. Furthermore, the franchise model offers unique flexibility to compete in small niche areas where there is less competition and little presence of large distribution formats.

Growing penetration of DIA banner franchised stores

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