The Italian company Italsav announced the upcoming opening of a joint-management shopping center in Havana, according to the ANSA news agency.
“By September we will open the first Cuban joint-management shopping center in Havana, always leaving the sale and the staff to the Cuban State, but we will be in charge of the direction and choice of the products,” said Berto Savina, owner of Italsav, quoted by the Italian news agency.
The initiative has the collaboration of businessman Mauro Fusano, owner of Maury’s group, one of the most important large-scale specialized retailers in Italy, the news agency notes.
The information, however, has not been confirmed by the island authorities. The report also does not specify which Cuban entity will share the management of the shopping center with the Italian company.
According to ANSA, “Italsav has been transporting basic need products and materials to Havana for more than thirty years, and during the pandemic it also donated safety devices and syringes to the Cuban State, to help the country during the COVID vaccination campaign.”
The report recalls that Savina’s collaboration with the island began when he opened “several TODOX stores, where everything inside cost only one dollar.”
Cuba then granted it a commercial license that gave “the Marsy’s company the possibility of increasing its turnover, turning it until now into the first importer of cleaning products for Cuba with more than 150 outlets.” These outlets are divided between hygiene products, souvenirs and clothing stores, with an average shipment of between 70 and 80 containers per month, with a total turnover of 150 million euros in ten years.
Italsav has also made various donations to Cuba. One of them is “the largest children’s playground in South America dedicated to dinosaurs, with a 1:1 scale reproduction in which the animals reach up to 15 m in height, for a total area of 500 square meters,” ANSA said.
In 2022, the Cuban government announced that it would allow foreign investment in wholesale trade, and also in retail through joint ventures. The decision is part of a package of measures aimed at revitalizing the battered Cuban economy, affected by a severe crisis.
At the beginning of December, the Cuban Tiendas Panamericanas chain denied a news item circulating on social networks, according to which international corporations such as El Corte Inglés, Walmart, Carrefour, Ikea and Galerías Lafayette would open their first stores in Havana.
A few days later, the approval of the joint venture Gran Ferretero S.A. was reported, the first with foreign capital since the modification of the foreign investment policy in that sector.
Said company “aims to create a large hardware store to sell a wide variety of items, including construction materials” and was due to start operations in the first quarter of 2023, according to Granma, although so far its opening has not been confirmed.