Swedish supermarkets cash in on Ramadan

The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan has boosted sales in Swedish grocery stores, with many chains reporting a surge in demand for their international products.

The budget supermarket Willys, owned by Axfoods, has seen a 44 percent increase in the sales of products from the Balkans and the Middle East during the first three weeks of Ramadan, compared to the same period last year, according to a press release.

In recent years both Coop and ICA have promoted a product range in certain stores especially targeting Muslim shoppers. This includes fresh dates, halal chicken and baklava pastries.

This year Ramadan began on September 23rd and supermarkets are anticipating increased sales in the final week.

In the final week of Ramadan last year, said Willys, sales of their global product range soared by 133 percent.


Major Swedish supermarket chain hit by cyberattack

One of Sweden's biggest supermarket chains said Saturday it had to temporarily close around 800 stores nationwide after a cyberattack blocked access to its checkouts.

Major Swedish supermarket chain hit by cyberattack
A Coop store in Stockholm. credit: Ali Lorestani/TT

“One of our subcontractors was hit by a digital attack, and that’s why our checkouts aren’t working any more,” Coop Sweden, which accounts for around 20 percent of the sector, said in a statement.

“We regret the situation and will do all we can to reopen swiftly,” the cooperative added.

Coop Sweden did not name the subcontractor or reveal the hacking method used against it beginning on Friday evening.

But the Swedish subsidiary of the Visma software group said the problem was linked to a mayor cyber attack on US IT company Kaseya on Friday.

Kaseya has urged customers to shut down servers running its VSA platform after dozens were hit with ransomware attacks.

A wave of ransomware attacks has struck worldwide recently, especially in the United States.

Ransomware attacks typically involve locking away data in systems using encryption, making companies pay to regain access.

Last year, hackers extorted at least $18 billion using such software, according to security firm Emsisoft.

In recent weeks, such attacks have hit oil pipelines, health services and major firms, and made it onto the agenda of US President Joe Biden’s June meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.