Ica plans expansion after profit rise

Swedish supermarket chain Ica has announced first-quarter profits of 490 million kronor. This was a significant increase on the same period in 2005, when the grocery firm recorded profits of 237 million kronor. Turnover also increased from 16.5 to 17.1 billion kronor.

CEO Kenneth Bengtsson said the company had good opportunities to strengthen its position during the rest of the year. Writing in the company’s interim report, he announced that the company would remain on the offensive when it comes to opening new stores.

Hakon Invest, which owns 40 percent of Ica, announced profits for January to March of 263 million kronor, up from 210 last year.

“During 2006, Ica AB will invest in the future by retaining a high pace of store openings, and by further strengthening the purchasing an logistics functions, at the same time as placing emphasis on keeping prices low,” Hakon’s CEO Claes-Göran Sylvén wrote in his company’s interim report.

As it launched its report, Hakon announced that its Forma Publishing subsidiary will buy the B Wahlström book publishers, with 34 employees and a turnover of around 100 million kronor.