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Swedish shop hits back: our Converse are real

Swedish retailer Coop has refuted complaints by US sneaker brand Converse that Coop stores are selling unauthorized pirated copies of the iconic footwear.

On Tuesday, it emerged that Converse, which is owned by Nike, had asked a Stockholm court for permission to search through five of Coop’s stores where it believed pirated Converse sneakers were being sold.

But Coop later rejected Converse’s piracy accusations, claiming that the shoes on sale at Coop Forum stores in Bäckebol, Norrköping, Skövde and Skara were the genuine articles.

“We’re very surprised that they would go forward in this way and ignore the documentation we sent to them when we first heard about the accusations that we were selling pirated copies of Converse shoes,” Coop spokeswoman Marika Hjelm Siegwald told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

“It’s not true,” she added, explaining that a law firm has helped Coop obtain certificates of authenticity from the manufacturers.

The complaints emerged after Converse noticed that Coop was selling its wares for about 399 kronor ($60), half of the usual retail price of 799 kronor ($120).

Experts from the company purchased several pairs of the popular canvas trainers and sent them to the US where further inspection revealed the shoes lacked a serial number combination used as a security measure.

But Hjelm Siegwald maintained that the Converse shoes on sale at Coop do in fact have the numbers.

“We have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the Converse shoes we’re selling in our stores. We have documentation that proves the shoes are real and trust our suppliers,” she told the Metro newspaper.

On Tuesday, the Stockholm District Court granted permission to Converse to enter Coop stores and obtain samples of the shoes in order to determine if further legal action is required.

However, the court refused to allow all the shoes to be confiscated.

“We’re going to continue to sell the shoes because we’re sure they are real,” Hjelm Siegwald told SvD.

“Why Converse is doing this to us is a good question, but we don’t know. It’s not like the price in itself is an indication of a product’s authenticity.”

The Local/dl

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COOP

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.

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