Supermarkets closing for expensive energy. He unleashes himself with regret, Ferdinando Fabiano, 59, sole director of two companies, Mefa srl and Metodi srl, which manage 5 markets (“3 from the Md brand and 2 Todis”) between Soccavo, Volla, Cercola and Casoria. Fabiano wrote to the “Morning” of Naples, in recent days, to denounce his “frustration” and “the entrepreneurial dead end in which I find myself. My companies, with these increases in bill, always have a negative balance. The biggest nightmare is going out of business without being able to pay employees. It was they, in the hardest months of the pandemic, who took the risk themselves to guarantee citizens’ right to spend. I will not go into the merits of the reasons that led to the increases but I underline the gravity of the problem, the inconsistency of the support put in place by politics ».
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Why is this crisis so profound?
“The bills have become unsustainable. We can’t go on: for my 5 supermarkets we invoice about 1 million a month, with a profit of 170 thousand euros. Amount with which I have to pay wages of about 90 thousand euros to 70 families, plus expenses. In July I paid 76 thousand euros for energy: I can no longer bear these costs ».
And what are you going to do?
“I’ll go on until the power is turned off. The last supermarket taken over was the Soccavo one, but I can’t pay. When and if they stop supplying, unfortunately, I will have to close. The decision that provides for the closure of 2 of the 5 (those with lower turnover) and the closure of the frozen and fresh departments (those with the highest electricity consumption) is painful, with the consequent reduction of 50% of the remaining staff. I want to publicly apologize to the employees who will be fired. They know well that they were part of a single family where one of the first to go down to the front was myself. A year ago the monthly cost of the energy bill ranged from 2,300 euros for the smallest supermarket to 7,500 for the largest one. From September-October 2021 there was a gradual but constant increase in cost until July 2022, where for the smallest supermarket it went from 2,300 to 14,500, while for the larger one from 7,500 to 22,500. We are already in an increase range of 200/300% ».
See no solution?
«In the specific case of my companies, it is not possible to intervene on the sales prices. Being an affiliate, the prices are set by the parent company. The government intervention on the elimination of system charges and on the tax credit granted on the cost increase is commendable, but more effective incentives are urgently needed. We cannot fight if we are already defeated from the start. My profit margin is less than the expenses I have to bear. If I wanted to pay the bills, every month I would have to lose 50 thousand euros to cover business costs. We are already turning off the air conditioners. I repeat: in June I was able to pay, but only by losing money and investing it in the company outside the profit. I am terrified of not being able to pay my 70 employees: this is why we are trying to sell the business to those with greater financial resources ».
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