ICC Worldwide said today that it had begun operations in Italy with the opening of four Italian retail stores in September, 2007.

Alfred Settino, president of ICC Italy (a subsidiary of ICC Worldwide), said: "The opening of these stores represents a major milestone for ICC. They constitute our first steps in the development of a major new venture which ICC is establishing in Italy. This business is focused on serving the specialised needs of the country's 3.5 million immigrant worker population."

ICC will delivers a broad range of specialized products and services to the well established immigrant worker community in Italy, the company said, including ethnic food, beverages and soft goods, which are not generally available in Italian supermarkets.

Two of ICC's new stores are located in Ravenna, a city in the Emilia-Romagna Region of Italy. The other two are in the cities of Trescore and Calcinate, both of which are in the Northern Region of Lombardy. In conjunction with the opening of these retail sites, ICC Italy has also established its headquarters operations in the city of Mantova, also in the Lombardy Region.

Settino went on to say: "These four sites are the first in a series of planned company-owned 'anchor store' openings. Over time, our strategy calls for ICC to open a number of these showcase regional sites throughout Italy. The anchor stores will in turn, attract and support a large network of considerably smaller, independently-owned 'satellite' stores. These satellite stores exist today within the thousands of diverse local ethnic neighborhoods throughout Italy. ICC will sell to the satellite stores (on a wholesale basis) the same broad range of products and services which are available in our showcase anchor stores. We will also support the satellite stores with contemporary merchandizing and marketing programs, financial assistance and highly efficient restocking of inventory from our regional warehouses. With a well-established network that numbers more than 4,000 independently-owned satellite stores across Italy, our potential for rapid growth of the wholesale distribution component of ICC's new business is remarkable."