retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

I kind of like it when companies decide to embrace new challenges ... even on those occasions when I don't completely understand the rationales.

Two such cases have come to my attention in recent days...

CNBC reports that "Domino's Pizza is taking a shot at opening a store in the birthplace of pizza: Italy.

"No stranger to international expansion, the chain has more than 12,100 stores in more than 80 international markets but had shied away from Italy until now. On Monday, the chain opened its first Italian location in Milan as part of a master franchise agreement with ePizza S.p.A. ... (and) plans to open three locations in Milan by year end."

Domino's says that it plays to source all of its ingredients locally.

At the same time, the Daily Meal reports that Eataly, the chain of Italian gourmet markets with 28 stores in places like 28 locations around the world, including outposts in Italy New York, Chicago, Dubai, and Tokyo, has its eye on a new location - Paris. France. To open by 2018.

Founder Oscar Farinetti says that Paris is a little intimidating, but, "for me the French are the most competent nation when it comes to food. We decided to leave Paris until last because we can't afford to make a mistake there. Entering the French food market is no easy feat."

Now, I have to admit that I find the Eataly move a lot easier to understand than the Domino's venture. After all, the French do love food - probably even Italian food - and so a high-class Italian food store might well be a success.

But bringing Domino's pizza to Italy? That sounds more like a crime against humanity to me. or, at the very least, a crime against gastronomy. Which is almost as bad.

Still, as I say, I have to admire it when retailers do into the belly of the beast, even when it seems possible - or even likely - that the beast might eat them.

It is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: