Our History

Passion, cohesion and innovation: the strength of our group


Several food wholesalers enter into partnership by forming a voluntary association that they name A&O Italiana. 

Growing in size and number over the next few years, the members of the association transform themselves into national-level distributors. The voluntary association incorporates as  a consortium called Consorzio A&O Italiano.


The A&O Consortium forms Selex Gruppo Commerciale [the Selex Retail Group], which welcomes in new Partner Companies as the Group expands its operations across the country. Cementing its links with its Partner Companies and encouraging them to pool their expertise, the Group takes a decisive step forward and broadens the powers and responsibilities of Head Office, which can now focus more tightly on marketing and services. These years see the launch of nationwide promotional and advertising campaigns that galvanize the ties between Selex and producers.


By now, twenty years after A&O was founded, the large retail and distribution sector in Italy  has made great strides by renewing itself and building on the success of the self-service sales (supermarket) formula. Opting for a variety of retail formats, Selex reaffirms its vocation as  a multichannel retailing concern.
To coincide with the twentieth anniversary of its foundation, Selex opens a new headquarters in Trezzano sul Naviglio (Milan). Meanwhile, the Partner Companies open the first outlets of the Famila chain, an innovative supermarket format that, by bringing both groceries and non-food products under the one roof, launches the group into the super-/hypermarket segment. During the 1980s, the Group launches a new generation of supermarkets, namely the Super A&O chain. Bringing a welcome breath of fresh air to the retailing world, Selex develops modern stores with improved layouts with the intention of creating a welcoming setting for customers.
In particular, the stores reconfigure their internal floorplan with the inclusion of staff-assisted food services, cold-cut and deli counters, along with an in-store greengrocer station and butcher and baker sections, as they place ever greater emphasis on freshness and quality.


In the early nineties, the extent of the progress made by the Partner Companies of Selex and by the Selex Group itself becomes more evident. During this decade, the Group gives proof of its full potential by expanding and developing its portfolio of hypermarkets, superstores and shopping centres.
On the cusp of 2000, the Selex network now boasts more than 1,600 retail outlets with a combined floorage of nearly one million square metres. Turnover in 1999 reaches 8,100 billion Italian lire (more than 4 billion euros).
Selex makes huge strides in these years towards becoming a recognized own-label brand of guaranteed quality. The Group thus lays down the solid foundations on which it will build its strength as it enters the new millennium.

The 2000s

Years of growth and landmark achievements.
In 2004, now 40 years old, Selex has become the fifth-largest distributor in the country, with a turnover of 6 billion euros and a market share of 7 per cent, and can count on two million loyal customers.


In January 2021, five companies belonging to the Supermercati Uniti Nazionali (SUN) Group (Alfi, Cadoro, Ce.Di. Gros, Italbrix and Gabrielli) and CDS-Centro Distribuzione Supermercati joined the Selex Group, which thus became Italy’s second largest supermarket and retail distributor, with a market share of 14.7 per cent. The Group has issued in excess of 8 million loyalty cards and is retailing around 7,700 private-label products.


In 2024 the Selex Group proudly celebrates its first 60 years. With 18 Partner Companies, over 60 new retail outlets opened in 2023 with 65 more to come in the current year, the Group now controls more than 15 per cent of the market and generates 20 billion euros in sales. The birthday offers a perfect opportunity to renew the Group’s commitment to standing as a symbol of Italian excellence and enterprise.

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