Netto leaves Stockholm and moves south

Low price supermarket chain Netto is leaving Stockholm for warmer climes. It is set to expand in towns south of Linköping while at the same time evacuating its stores in central parts of the country.

The move follows news on Monday that Ica has reduced its ownership in Netto from 50 to 5 percent. Dansk Supermarked has taken over Ica’s share.

Netto CEO Carsten Hansen is not sure if Netto will ever return to central Sweden.

“We are not currently planning to come back but nwe are not planning not to come back either,” he told financial news site E24.

Seven of Netto’s 20 stores in central Sweden will be converted to Ica supermarkets. The rest are to be sold.

“By disappearing from the Mälardalen region we are freeing up a lot of resources that will enable us to open more stores in the south. We paln to open 20 stores in 2007 and 30 per year after that,” said Hansen.

Netto recorded a loss of 90 million kronor for the first nine months of 2006, The chain was established in August 2001 and has yet to make a profit, E24 reports.