Excluding the revenues of Intersport Italia, which it controls, Cisalfa Sport recorded only a slight increase in its revenues to €389 million in the financial year ended Feb. 28, compared with €386 million the year before, but its chief executive, Marco Giunta, said its profitability improved.

For its part, Intersport Italia estimates that all its affiliated retailers, including Cisalfa, raised their sales by 2.5 percent last year to €950 million before VAT. Considering the fact that the Italian sporting goods market declined by an estimated 2.5 percent, this means that the group increased its market share.

The company decided to close 12 small and under-performing stores in the course of the year. It opened seven larger ones and is going to follow with six similar openings this year, mostly in shopping malls. One of the new stores was the previously described 3,800-square-meter superstore it recently opened at Grugliasco near Turin, based on a new format, whose sales are expected to reach €10 million this year. Intended to differentiate the group more markedly from Décathlon, the concept is being implemented in all the new Cisalfa stores.

At the end of the past year, the group operated a total of 164 doors, including 20 large and very technical Longoni Sport stores.

One of Cisalfa's big new projects last year was a refitting of all its stores, allocating separate sections to its four main categories – active sports, sportswear (by sports brands), citywear (by other brands) and seasonal items (snow sports, outdoor, cycling, water sports). The new setup is intended to promote cross-selling and up-selling, and it follows the same structure as the group's reorganized purchasing department.

Franchising is the big new project being pursued at Intersport Italia. Only affiliated retailers are allowed to open Intersport branded stores, following specific guidelines intended to obtain better margins from the 80-odd suppliers that have contracts with the group. Four new franchised Intersport stores were opened in Italy last year, and they are doing well. Another four are slated for this year.

In the past financial year, 15 retail members left the group because of financial problems, says the management, but five big and solid members have joined it. There are now a total of 205.