Willys brands merge as Axfoods profit stutters

Grocery chain Axfood, which owns the Hemköp and Willys brands, has posted an operating profit of 226 million kronor during the first quarter of 2005.

That is a slight fall on last year’s figure, which the company says was due to the fact that the boom period of Easter fell in the second quarter this year.

Turnover was up 2.5% to 6,820 million kronor.

Profit after tax for the period was 161 million kronor, down 7 million kronor on the same period last year.

The managing director of Axfoods, Anders Strålman, said the company was sticking to its forecast for performance during the first half of the year. At the same time, Strålman announced the decision to merge the Willys and Willys hemma brands.

“By integrating Willys hemma into Willys, we will be able to lower costs and ensure operating efficiencies, at the same time that we will gain a number of other co-ordination effects,” says Strålman.

There are currently 45 Willys hemma stores, but for some time sales have been falling.

In total the merger will give rise to annual cost savings of approximately 7 million kronor.

Louis Roper