Coop slumps as ICA dominates Swedish grocery sector

Sales in the Swedish grocery sector increased in 2005 by 2.5%, to 211 billion kronor. Coop's decline continued while Lidl and Netto increased their market share significantly.

Coop’s sales fell by a billion kronor to 34.3 billion kronor. A large part of that drop was felt by the company in the first half of the year and the shrinking was slowed in the second half.

According to analysis by industry paper Ica-Nyheter, Coop’s share of the Swedish grocery market fell by 0.9% to 16.3%.

Axfood’s sales growth was also relatively weak, climbing only 0.5% to 28.4 billion kronor. The company’s market share declined slightly, to 13.4%.

The big winners of the year were budget chains Lidl and Netto, which both increased sales and market share.

Lidl’s sales climbed by 85% to 3.2 billion kronor, while Netto’s sales rose 70% to 2.1 billion kronor. But they still have a relatively small share of the market overall: combined, their share climbed from 1.5% in 2004 to 2.5% in 2005.

The Bergendahl Group, which owns chains such as VI and City Gross, increased sales by 5% to 11.8 billion kronor, taking market share to 5.6%.

But ICA is still in a league of its own in the Swedish grocery market. Sales rose by 2.5% to 75.6 billion kronor, which meant a marginal increase in market share to 35.8%.