Unieuro has its roots in a history of family entrepreneurship which, over the years, has progressively grown by anticipating market trends and strategically strengthening itself, reaching a position of leadership in the domestic market.
In Brisighella (RA), Vittorio Silvestrini opened the first store for retailing gas stoves, wood stoves, radios and sewing machines. In 1958, he opened the first wholesale and retail store.
In 1973, Giuseppe and Maria Grazia Silvestrini succeeded their father Vittorio in leading the business. Between 1979 and 1980, they launched the first path to growth by incorporating C.I.D.E.L. s.n.c. di Silvestrini Maria Grazia & C. which, in 1980, became S.G.M. Distribuzione S.r.l. (now Unieuro S.p.A.).
S.G.M. Distribuzione S.r.l. became part of the consortium group of Expert Italy S.p.A. Consortile, which soon after became one of the main consortia in terms of sales volumes, thanks to the opening of new outlets, mainly in Northern and Central Italy. The growth process led to the creation of a chain characterised by the Marco Polo-Expert logo. In 2001, the e-commerce business supported the chain’s physical shops, through the launch of the marcopoloshop.it platform, a multichannel approach pioneered in Italy thanks to the in-store pick-up service (“reserve online, pick-up in store”).
In 2005, the Rhône Capital II L.P. fund acquired the entire share capital of S.G.M. Distribuzione S.r.l. and Marco Polo S.r.l. which, at a later stage of the transaction, was fully merged into S.G.M. Distribuzione S.r.l. The control over the Company resulting from the transaction passed to the holding Venice Holdings S.r.l., controlled – for a minority stake – by the Silvestrini family and the management.
Between 2007 and 2012, S.G.M. Distribuzione S.r.l. signed a series of strategic acquisitions by certain key players (Consumer Electronics S.p.A., Eldo Italia S.p.A. and a group of four Italian companies operating in the sector), leading the chain to quadruple its directly managed outlets, which increased from 21 in 2006 to 81 in 2013.
In October 2013, S.G.M. Distribuzione S.r.l. acquired from DSG European Investment Limited – a UK group operating in the consumer electronics industry – 100% of the former Unieuro, a chain of 94 outlets throughout Italy founded in 1967 in Alba, Piedmont.
Thus, from the integration of Unieuro into S.G.M. Distribuzione, the new Unieuro was founded, as it is known today. A strong path of business rationalisation was launched, which led – in just four months – to the unification of the general management headquarters at the single Forlì site and of the centralised logistics centre in Piacenza.
In 2014, Unieuro abandoned the consortium Expert Italy S.p.A. Consortile to focus, independently, on its own brand, which already enjoyed great recognition in Italy. This decision was followed by the launch of a restructuring and rebranding campaign, which also involved all outlets previously under the Marco Polo brand, with a consequent relaunch.
In 2015, Unieuro entered a new market segment – Travel – by acquiring, from Dixons Travel S.r.l., eight stores located at Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino airports.
In 2016, the process of forming the new Unieuro, started in 2013, was completed and the business was converted from a limited liability company to a joint stock company. The website restyling process was completed and the new e-commerce platform was launched.