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The DIA Group has a multi-brand and a multi-format business model that places the customer at the heart of its business, based on an innovative system of continuous improvement that integrates the concept of profitability for all the players in its value chain. Its geographical expansion in Iberia and LatAm offers endless opportunities to grow organically and inorganically in both regions, driving a business model that boasts solid cash flow generation, an attractive return on investment, and offering shareholders a level of profitability that is above the sector average.

Since its listing in July 2011, DIA’s business plans have always revolved around its strategy of reaching organic growth by leveraging its business consolidation in Iberia (its main market) and an unprecedented rate of expansion in the Latin American market. The company always ensures that priority is given to efficiency and a responsible use of resources.

Accordingly, the DIA Group has three transversal business priorities for the coming years:

The first priority is essential, and involves keeping the customer at the centre of all of the company’s decisions. The second priority is to undertake a digital transformation within the group that spans all levels. The third priority is to develop new avenues of growth by searching for new business opportunities. All of these priorities tie in with the company’s consolidated focus on the DIA franchise, the best operating model to manage proximity commerce, and a fundamental pillar of profitable growth.

The DIA Group’s strategy is based on the following pillars:

Specialist in the proximity segment

The DIA Group boasts a unique business model that has allowed it to become an unrivalled specialist in the proximity segment. This proximity model allows the company to cater to each shopper’s everyday grocery requirements without them having to travel far, saving money and time in the process. Underpinned by the tenets of sustainable mobility and integration in the urban environment, the sales model makes life easier and is environmentally friendly, helping to preserve existing urban cohesion and the dynamism of the broader retail trade.

More than 86% of the stores operated by DIA Group are in urban and rural areas under the following banners: DIA Market, DIA Fresh, Clarel, El Árbol, La Plaza de DIA, Cada DIA, Minipreço and Mais Perto, and offering the best prices in the area of influence.

To encourage daily shopping, DIA Market, La Plaza de DIA, El Árbol and DIA Fresh stores offer more perishable products, as produce quality is of increasing importance to consumers. The DIA Group responds swiftly to its customers’ demands, which is why its stores are devoting more shelf space and prominence to fresh produce. The aim is to be the leading specialist in perishables: fruit, vegetables and bakery area offering freshly baked bread and pastries are the strengths that the DIA Group is actively developing. 


In the more than 35 years of DIA’s activity, it has always been focused on its customers’ needs. The company has leveraged the new digital tools and the opportunities available in the new environment to further develop its two-way relationship with its customers, offering a more complete shopping experience.

2016 saw the implementation of several projects aimed at offering DIA’s more than 40 million customers a total shopping experience. During the year, the company devoted a large part of its efforts to developing and implementing the advantages of digitalisation in the broad sense, with the aim of adapting rapidly and efficiently to changing consumer habits, as well as enhancing its listening and relationship channels.

In Spain, the DIA Group has a listening system that aims to gain first-hand knowledge of customers’ shopping experience, both in the offline and online channels. Accordingly, customers who use the Club DIA card to make a purchase in one of the group’s stores receive an email with a brief questionnaire that evaluates the service received from the store employees, as well as their final experience at the cash desks. During 2016, the company made progress with the implementation of its system of direct listening in its stores in Spain, with more than nine million surveys sent in 2016 and a response ratio of more than 7%. Furthermore, a similar listening model has been implemented in the group’s stores in Argentina, where in the first three months more than 50,000 clients replied to the survey. These replies are sent to a committee in charge of transferring customers’ conclusions to the relevant departments so that they can take the appropriate action.

This system provides DIA with information that is used to develop initiatives related to service and efficiency improvements.

The company’s direct and continuous communication with customers also plays a key role in the work carried out on social media and the commercial channels that the company has in all the countries in which it is present. The issues dealt with through these channels include real-time information, questions related to the operation of the stores, and product news, also helping to enhance customer loyalty.

Offer the best value for money 

Boosting shoppers’ purchasing power by offering the best quality at the best price in the market means that the DIA Group aims to continuously improve its efficiency, resulting in its undisputed price leadership. Quality food that everyone can afford is a priority for the company. The DIA Group has the best price image in its most important markets: Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Argentina.

The company has continuously monitored its brands and different formats, both in terms of positioning and customer perception. In conjunction with the international consultant Kantar Worldpanel, it carries out a periodical listening and customer monitoring process throughout the year, in order to gain first-hand knowledge of customer perception in relation to its commercial offer and price image in all the countries in which it operates. This allows the company to react fast to the changing needs of its customers, and better adjust its commercial processes.

The search for synergies in pursuit of efficiency has also led DIA to reach negotiating agreements with other players in the sector with the aim of improving purchasing conditions, thus favouring customers through better prices. Agreements such as those signed last year with Eroski in Spain, Intermarché in Portugal, and Casino for its private label in all of its markets have allowed the company to continue to offer the best prices to its customers, boosting the amount of cash available to invest in improved promotions.

A quality own brand

The own brand is essential to achieve a good price image and represent a single link with consumers, helping to make them loyal to our stores. The DIA Group’s own brand is constantly evolving to better adapt to customers’ needs, providing them with an increasing amount of information, and innovating with the aim of achieving the same quality as the leading product in the market (or even beating it on quality), at an unbeatable price.

DIA’s private-label catalogue includes 7,500 SKUs, representing an international range (present in five countries) that meets the requirements of a broad customer base with differing tastes and sensitivities.

The company boasts an extensive portfolio of brands. Thanks to these brands, and by offering the most comprehensive ranges at unbeatable prices, shoppers recognize DIA as a genuine specialist in a broad number of product categories.

In addition to the DIA brand, the company sells products under other private-label brands such as Bonté, specialised in personal care and hygiene products, Basic Cosmetics, focused on the make-up and cosmetics segments, BabySmile, devoted to all things baby-related, AS, the pet food brand, and Delicious, a range of premium products.

DIA’s own brands are present in the product lines in all of the countries in which the company operates, representing 46% of turnover during 2016. In Spain, own-brand sales accounted for 49% of the total product range, and this figure was 54% in Portugal. Of note is the Group’s excellent penetration in emerging countries, mainly in Brazil and Argentina, which have a weaker purchasing track record in this segment. In both countries, the sales of own brands represented 38% and 37% of total sales respectively, and the Chinese market accounted for an additional 7%.

The DIA Group exports its own brands from its markets in Spain and Portugal, which represents an unbeatable opportunity to expand and grow the business in countries in which the company does not have a physical presence.

In addition to further consolidating the DIA brand worldwide, exports in turn allow its local suppliers with which it works to broaden their operating scope and boost their image internationally. During 2016, more than EUR19m were invoiced through these exports, which were delivered to 31 markets worldwide.

Producers’ main brands are also present in the Group’s product lines, further meeting customers’ needs and providing them with free choice. At the end of 2016, sales of producers’ brands represented 54% of the total, mainly supported by the innovation of the most consolidated formats and the development of the recently added banners such as La Plaza de DIA and Clarel.

A unique loyalty program

The “ClubDIA” card allows customers to benefit from immediate discounts at the cash desk on more than 300 products. Furthermore, monthly coupons are issued offering additional discounts within a product family, a specific brand of products or a new product that has recently been launched. The use of these coupons can represent an additional discount of up to 6% on the ticket purchase value. This tool is critical for the company’s price image and allows it to implement more efficient sales plans with suppliers that are more efficient and beneficial for all involved.

Currently, 76% of the company’s total sales are generated through the use of the loyalty card, making Club DIA an essential tool when it comes to growth and business consolidation.

Despite the differences and peculiarities of consumption habits in different countries, the Club DIA card continues to show that it is a valid, exportable model that is attracting new members each year in the markets in which it is present. Of note are the more than one million new members in Spain and Argentina, and the 4 million members in Brazil.

At the end of 2016, more than 1.7bn coupons had been generated, compared to 1.65bn in the previous year.

2016 also saw the start of the digitalisation of a large part of these coupons with the aim of meeting the needs of customers who are increasingly used to operating online. This project was launched in Spain, where, at the end of the fiscal year, 46m digital coupons had been issued.

Continuous efficiency and process improvement

Process improvement, continuous reviews, and the constant search for excellence, are part of the DIA Group’s DNA. Efficiency is the best guarantee of sustainability, allowing the company to offer the most competitive prices.

All of this transformation process and rapid adaptation to customer needs would not have been possible without an agile, efficient, and profitable logistics network. DIA has 38 logistics platforms with a total of 764,526 square metres across the five countries in which it operates, which are part of an integrated system equipped with the latest technology.

In this system, each stage of the logistics process is designed according to the following step in the cycle, from the supplier to the store, with an optimal degree of adaptation thanks to the proprietary development carried out by the group. Accordingly, all the systems and IT programs used in its logistics network are designed and developed in-house, thus offering a rapid response to the changing needs of its markets and allowing the company to adjust and operate with the highest degree of efficiency within its proximity model.

In order to keep up with its exponential business growth, this year the DIA Group has opened two new logistics centres in Spain and Brazil, which add more than 53,000 square metres to its current logistics network.

All of the merchandise prepared in the warehouses for the stores is delivered on a single multi-temperate truck which carries all the perishable, frozen, dry and 0+ temperature products. The warehouses are managed using state-of-the-art technology such as “voice-picking” (orders placed verbally), or radiofrequency technology, which has eliminated the use of paper.

In line with this focus on innovation and continuous improvement in service levels, in 2016 the company began to test articulated vehicles (called Megatrucks) that are over 25 metres long, and which can carry up to 60 tonnes at a time. For now, this project is at the testing stage at the Spanish warehouses of Azuqueca de Henares and Dos Hermanas, allowing for a logical increase in transport efficiency and an improvement in emissions.

In order to become efficient and reduce costs, the DIA Group develops all of its strategic IT programs in-house, including the cash desk software, the warehouse management program, and the above-mentioned loyalty program. In addition, these programs are designed to better adapt to the specific requirements of the proximity business

Furthermore, in the stores, everything is designed to optimize employees’ tasks, starting with product allocation facilitated by packaging and conditioning. At the cash desks, prices are scanned faster and more easily thanks to bioptic scanners, as barcodes are printed in several places on each product and keyboards are optimized by removing unnecessary keys and enlarging the most commonly used ones.

The organization is focused on efficiency, allowing it to lower costs and offer the best prices to customers.

The franchise

The DIA Group sees the franchise concept as an essential pillar of its business model, allowing it to consistently expand its stores and generate value in all the countries in which it operates. At the end of 2016, the group had 3,969 franchised stores, accounting for 51% of its total network of stores.

Since it opened its first franchise in Spain 27 years ago, DIA has made progress with its franchise model, and it is now the leading franchiser in Spain and number three in Europe in the distribution sector, as well as number three by turnover in Brazil.

The success of its franchise model stems from the close ties that the company has with the franchisees from the outset. DIA provides its historical expertise of the sector, brand strength, and solid logistics network, while the franchisee brings commercial commitment and knowledge of the local market, which is essential to develop the proximity model.

Therefore, this is a solid professional relationship that not only generates profits for the parties involved, but it also brings value and wealth to the environment in which the franchise operates. Thus, at the end of 2016, the DIA franchises generated a total of 25,135 jobs across the five countries in which it is present.

Accordingly, the franchise model is suitable to manage proximity stores and is a key factor to improve and strengthen the company’s model.

Profitable growth

Since its creation in 1979, the DIA Group has grown steadily. Its international aspirations, capacity for innovation and high degree of versatility have been at the heart of the company’s growth in recent years.

The DIA Group’s focus is always on profitable growth, which sometimes implies closing unprofitable businesses with little prospect of improvement, as happened with the sale of the activities in Turkey, France, and Peking in previous years. This divestiture went hand in hand with subsequent new acquisitions of companies and establishments with an attractive track history that shows a willingness to grow, as long as they offer a perfect fit with the company’s strategy.

As for organic growth, the company is not looking for faster growth that could affect the profitability of the emerging countries as happened in Brazil, where profitable growth is ensured by the opening of a new region each year and a half, whilst looking for alternatives with master franchise contracts.

Focus on an omni-channel approach

DIA’s focus on an omni-channel approach over the last few years has also allowed the company to make significant progress in terms of e-commerce, mainly in the Spanish and Chinese markets. While so far online sales in Spain have represented 1% of total sales in the food sector, the growth potential and opportunities in relation to customers are currently infinite. The company now offers an online service in 19 Spanish provinces, and its smartphone app has been downloaded more than 300,000 times. In addition, the company is increasingly developing its non-food channel with the Clarel website, which sells all over Spain, and the ‘Oportunidades DIA’ (‘DIA Opportunities’) flash sales website, which mainly sells electronic and technological products. The company has exported this strategy to other countries, with the start of e-commerce operations in China and the launch of ‘Oportunidades’ (‘Opportunities’) in Argentina.

Complementary to this multi-channel strategy, during 2016 the company initiated several digital projects and agreements with third parties, which has propelled the company to the forefront of the sector in terms of e-commerce and digital services, with a focus on further meeting the needs of customers who are increasingly going online. A few examples of the company’s efforts to open up new channels through which to reach customers include: the agreement with Amazon to integrate La Plaza de DIA products into Amazon’s Prime Now service in Spain; the joint project with ING Direct to offer customers the possibility of obtaining cash in-store; and the agreement with the online sales platforms Netease and Tmall in China.

Business Model

DIA Group operates multi-format stores with a commercial offer that combines own brands with the main national brands. The company operates in three different types of businesses: the proximity business, the supermarket business, and the household and personal care, cosmetics and perfume business.

Store formats

The DIA Group’s different store formats are grouped under the following businesses:

Proximity business

The discount business is currently the largest unit in terms of volume, representing 80% of the DIA Group’s total stores worldwide. The main proximity store formats operated by the Group in its markets are as follows:

  • DIA Market: DIA Market stores have a floor space of between 400 and 700 square metres, and have a great ability to adapt to the needs of local demand. They aim to be as close as possible to customers, with a broad range of products and offering the best value for money. Of special note is the store’s focus on perishable goods. This is the ideal store for everyday shopping, selling around 2,800 products.
  • DIA Maxi: DIA Maxi stores allow the company to better adapt supply and the level of service offered to customers characterized by making larger and less frequent purchases, even going to the store by car, compared to the proximity segment. This is the DIA Group’s largest store format, with floor space of up to 1,000m2. At DIA Maxi stores, consumers can shop for a wide range of around 3,500 SKUs at the best market prices.
  • DIA Fresh: This commercial model works as a store where fresh products are managed. Within the proximity shopping concept, DIA Fresh is a smaller format, with average floor space of 150m2 and a product offering based on fresh products such as fruit, vegetables and a bakery area (an area offering freshly baked bread and pastries). Another feature of the DIA Fresh store concept is its long opening hours, which allows shoppers to stop by at any time between 09:30am and 9:30pm.
  • Cada DIA: This retail format, under the franchise model, targets smaller towns, particularly in rural areas. Under this formula, franchisees can offer DIA products without having to transform their stores into full-blown DIA stores. Typically, this is the town’s longstanding store managed by a small shopkeeper.
  • Minipreço: Minipreço is the brand that DIA operates in Portugal. There are convenience stores in urban centres and larger stores in city suburbs. DIA brand products are offered in these stores.
  • Mais Perto: This is the most rural concept of DIA store in Portugal, equivalent to the Cada DIA stores in Spain. The stores are located in small towns and are managed by local franchisees, allowing greater proximity to customers.
Supermarket business

This unit represents 4% of total DIA Group stores. The main supermarket formats operated under this business are as follows:

  • La Plaza de DIA: La Plaza de DIA represents the concept of a traditional nearby family supermarket in which customers can carry out their daily shopping with a wide range of products, with special importance given to fresh produce. This store provides daily solutions for consumers with a wide range of over 5,000 SKUs.
  • Max Descuento: This store specializes in providing services to professionals and self-employed workers in the hotel, catering and food industries and to groups, with a range of over 4,000 SKUs with formats aligned with consumption levels in this channel. The service is supplemented by a telephone sales service, orders by email and distribution to customers through a transport network that optimises customer processing time.
Household and personal care, cosmetics and perfume business

This business represents 16% of total DIA Group stores.

Clarel: This is a new store concept that aims to become the benchmark proximity store for shoppers looking to buy beauty, health, household and personal care, baby and pet care items, with around 6,000 SKUs.

Clarel was created following the acquisition of Schlecker stores in Spain and Portugal, and underwent an intensive process of remodelling to transform them into the new banner with a more modern proximity image.

Management models

The stores are managed either in a proprietary manner (COCO Stores – Company Owned Company Operated), or through franchises (FOFO Stores – Franchised Owned Franchised Operated or COFO Stores – Company Owned Franchised Operated).

COCO Stores (Company Owned Company Operated)

This is the DIA Group’s initial management model, and therefore the most widely used, although in recent years it has become less prevalent than the franchise management model. The main advantages of this management model are the greater ease of adapting the business model, making changes and managing the personnel that work in the retail stores. In particular, the "DIA Maxi" retail stores for the most part operate under this model, due to their greater size, high sales potential and greater management complexity. New business concepts are first tested in COCO stores before being replicated in franchise stores.

At the end of December 2016, COCO stores represented close to 49% of total DIA Group stores.

FOFO Stores (Franchised Owned Franchised Operated)

For the DIA Group, franchising is a management model and not a different retail model, so this model is treated from the point of view of the end customer in the same way as a COCO or company-owned store. This model that has become much stronger in recent years, and is of special significance to the DIA Group, and this change in strategy is mainly based on the proximity between franchisees and customers that provides a proximity service adapted to their needs. The franchisee manages the store in an optimal and efficient manner, and is an entrepreneur who manages the business with all of DIA’s expertise, generating wealth in the environment in which it operates.

At the end of December 2016, FOFO stores represented 19% of total DIA Group stores.

COFO Stores (Company Owned Franchised Operated)

This management model began to be implemented in Spain in 2006 with isolated tests. Since 2009, it has been implemented in a significant way. The principal advantage of this system is that the DIA Group fits out premises meeting all investment requirements and with all the necessary equipment and they are subsequently transferred to a third party for management and operation, which allows profitability to be generated for both parties thanks to the franchisee's involvement in the operation of the point of sale.

At the end of December 2016, COFO stores represented 32% of total DIA Group stores.

The current franchised banners are: DIA Market, DIA Maxi, Clarel, Cada DIA, Minipreço and Mais Perto.

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