Unieuro’s roots are based in the entrepreneurial history of the Silvestrini family, who, from the Thirties to 2005, knew how to grow the business gradually, anticipating market trends and strengthening the business, finally reaching a prominent position within the Italian consumer electronics retail sector.
After the private equity Rhône Capital fund entered the capital, from 2005 the Company launched a path of external and internal growth which led to it reaching a national leadership position.
The listing on the Milan Stock Exchange, in 2017, marked another milestone in Unieuro’s history, representing the starting point of a new development phase.
Vittorio Silvestrini opened the first store in Brisighella (Ravenna) for the retail sales of gas ovens, wood-fired stoves, radios and sewing machines. In 1958, the first retail and wholesale point of sale was launched.
In 1973, Giuseppe and Maria Grazia Silvestrini took over the helm of the business from their father Vittorio. Between 1979 and 1980, they launched an initial growth path through the establishment of C.I.D.E.L. s.n.c. di Silvestrini Maria Grazia & C. which, in 1980, became S.G.M. Distribuzione S.r.l. (the current Unieuro S.p.A.).
S.G.M. Distribuzione S.r.l. became part of buying group Expert Italy S.p.A. Consortile, in a short time becoming one of the main members in terms of sale volumes thanks to the opening of Marco Polo-Expert branded stores, mainly in Northern and Central Italy. In 2001, the physical stores in the chain were supported by e-commerce activity through the launch of the marcopoloshop.it platform, the website in Italy that pioneered the multichannel approach thanks to the in-store pick up service
The international investment fund Rhône Capital II L.P. acquired the entire share capital of S.G.M. Distribuzione S.r.l., with control later going to Venice Holdings S.r.l., invested in by the Silvestrini family and management through a minority shareholding.
S.G.M. Distribuzione signed a series of strategic acquisitions from several important players (Consumer Electronics S.p.A., Eldo Italia S.p.A. and a group of four Italian companies operating in the sector) which led to the chain quadrupling the number of points of sale managed directly, going from 21 in 2006 to 81 in 2013.
In October 2013, the shareholders of S.G.M. Distribuzione bought from Dixons – an English group active in the consumer electronics sector – a controlling stake of the then UniEuro, a chain of 94 points of sale located throughout Italy and founded in 1967 in Alba, Piedmont.
The integration of UniEuro and S.G.M. Distribuzione, led to the new Unieuro, as it is currently known. An intense path of rationalisation of the business was launched which led – in just four months – to the unification of the headquarters in the sole centre of Forlì and of the centralised logistics centre in Piacenza.
In 2014, Unieuro abandoned the consortium Expert Italy S.p.A. Consortile to focus on its own brand, already strong and with a very good recognition at national level. This decision was followed by the launch of a rebranding campaign which also involved all the stores previously managed under the Marco Polo banner, with a consequent relaunch.
In 2015, Unieuro entered into a new market segment, retail travel, buying eight stores located in Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino airports from Dixons Travel S.r.l.
In 2016, through the merger between SGM Distribuzione S.r.l. and UniEuro S.r.l. the process of the creation of the new Unieuro was brought to an end and the company became a limited company.
The new e-commerce platform was launched with the complete restyling of the unieuro.it website and the launch of the new app.
The acquisition of Monclick
In February 2017 Unieuro signed an agreement with Project Shop Land S.p.A. for the acquisition of 100% of Monclick, one of the leading online operators in Italy active in the market of consumer electronics and B2B2C online market.
The acquisition is of great strategic because it enables Unieuro to significantly increase sales in the online segment thereby strengthening its position in the domestic market.
Admission to the stock exchange
On 4 April 2017 Unieuro shares – with the ticker UNIR – made their début on the STAR segment of the Mercato Telematico Azionario organised and managed by Borsa Italiana S.p.A. through a placement aimed at Italian and international institutional investors.
The acquisition of new stores
In April, Unieuro announced the acquisition of a business unit from Andreoli S.p.A., in an arrangement with creditors, composed of 21 ex-Euronics stores, located in Southern Lazio, Abruzzo and Molise.
In October, another 19 stores, belonging to Gruppo Cerioni S.p.A. and formerly operated under the Euronics banner in Marche and Emilia Romagna regions, were acquired.
The external growth strategy continues, with the goal of increasing the coverage of the network and taking advantage of the synergies gained from the high degree of centralization of the business model.