Italian firm Italsav to open a shopping mall in Havana
Italian company Italsav has announced the upcoming inauguration of a jointly managed shopping mall in Havana, Cuba.
Berto Savina, the owner of Italsav, was quoted by ANSA news agency as saying that the mall will open in September and that sales and personnel will always be under the control of the Cuban State, while the Italian firm will be in charge of administration and product selection.
Businessman Mauro Fusano, the owner of Maury’s group, one of Italy’s leading large-scale specialty retailers, has also joined the initiative.
However, Cuban authorities have not yet confirmed this information, and it has not been disclosed which Cuban entity will be involved in the management of the mall.
Italsav has been bringing materials and basic necessities to Havana for more than three decades.
Throughout the pandemic, the Italian company also donated protective equipment and syringes to the Cuban State to support the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
The company has a commercial license granted by Cuba and has become the largest importer of cleaning products in the country, with more than 160 points of sale.
Italsav has made several donations to Cuba over the years, including the construction of the largest children’s playground in South America dedicated to dinosaurs. This park has a full-scale reproduction of the animals and covers an area of 500 square meters.
Savina was the main driving force behind the opening of TODOX stores in Cuba, popularly known as “everything for a dollar” or “everything for one,” a business highly valued by consumers inside the country and which meant its entry into the island.
Italsav is the main distributor of the Agua y Jabón chain, present throughout Cuba since 2015, with 50 stores operated by TRD Caribe.
Foreign investment in Cuba’s retail trade.
Last year, the Cuban government announced that it would allow foreign investment in wholesale and retail trade through joint ventures as part of a package of measures aimed at reactivating the Cuban economy, which is currently undergoing a severe crisis.
In December 2022, Tiendas Panamericanas de Cuba denied a news spread on social networks claiming that El Corte Inglés, Walmart, Carrefour, Ikea and Galerías Lafayette would open their first stores in Havana.
Shortly after the change in foreign investment policy, the approval of the joint venture Gran Ferretero S.A., the first with foreign capital in the sector, was announced.
According to the official newspaper Granma, the company intends to establish a large hardware store offering an extensive range of products, including construction materials.
Although it was expected to start operations in the first quarter of 2023, its opening has not yet been confirmed.
Italsav is a leading company in Italy with a wide range of high-quality products and a long history of collaboration with Cuba. The opening of this shopping center in Havana represents an opportunity for the company to expand and offer its products to a wider public.
At the same time, it is an opportunity for the Cuban economy to attract more foreign investment and revitalize itself.