Name of the provider / Family business
The example of a persistent company that knows how to survive market-turbulences
Professional sector and company size
Food industry, supermarket chain / 28.000 employees
Family business strategy- planning and implementation / Women in family business
Link to more information
Sklavenitis is a Greek-owned supermarket chain operating mainly in Greece. As of 2017, the company is the largest retail group in the country (counting 497 stores in Greece and Cyprus), following the acquisition of the largest supermarket group in Greece, Marinopoulos Group. Nowadays, Maria Sklavenitis (2nd generation) is the president of the company, while her brother Stelios holds the position of Deputy Managing Director. Gerasimos Sklavenitis, the third brother, is the Managing Director of the Group and has mainly taken over the administrative part. The history of the Company begins in 1954, when the brothers Spyros and Yiannis Sklavenitis, together with their friend Miltiadis Papadopoulos, founded Sklavenitis, a company whose activity focused on the wholesale sale of food in grocery stores as well as the packaging and distribution of spices in tabs.
In 1967, they created the first ever telephone-order delivery company in Greece, “TELEXYP”! Its innovative character and the easy access it provided strengthened the company’s presence in the market. After the success of the “TELEXYP” venture, the three funders decided to convert the wholesale warehouse into a retail store. Entering the 70s, the retail store was converted into a Supermarket, one of the first in the country. Another novelty was their decision to sale along with food products, clothing, linens, housewares, electrical appliances, and toys. Ιn all these acquisitions, the purpose of the founders remained the same: to expand while remaining an independent and above all Greek company. Since then, the company has been expanding all over Greece, mainly by acquiring other small-chain retail stores.
However, it is important to note the difficulties and crises that this family business has gone through, the successful tackling of which highlights the ability of its managers to exercise and implement a business strategy. After the passing of Yannis Sklavenitis (1993) and Spyros (2006), significant changes took place in the management of the company. A takeover proposal from a multinational group caused disturbance to the administration, but the children of Spyros Sklavenitis fought for the safeguarding of the company’s independence and Greek character. In fact, they bought off the shares of their cousins in order for the company to remain independent, family-oriented- oriented and Greek. In fact, to this day, the company stands out for its relationship with its employees, abstaining from practices such as salary reductions and mass layoffs or opening on Sundays in order to avoid burdening the workers with extra work on a day of relaxation.
To sum up, Sklavenitis is a shining example of a family business that strived through entrepreneurial maneuvers and successful business strategies to ensure its independence, with respect to the Greek employees.