'Slap in the face': Swedish supermarket leaders take out huge bonuses

TT/The Local
TT/The Local - [email protected]
'Slap in the face': Swedish supermarket leaders take out huge bonuses
Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson following a meeting with the leaders of ICA, Axfood and Coop. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The leaders of Swedish supermarket giants Axfood and Ica took out multi-million kronor bonuses last year off the back of high food prices, bonuses which Swedish politicians have described as "offensive" and "a slap in the face".


Klas Balkow, CEO of Axfood, which owns Hemköp and Willys supermarkets, received a salary of 8.4 million kronor last year, with a 4.7 million kronor bonus on top of that. In total, he received over 23 million kronor in 2022.

The former CEO of ICA, Per Strömberg, who is still being paid until summer this year despite leaving the role in January, received a total of 36 million kronor in 2022, made up of 17.4 million kronor salary and a 13.2 million kronor bonus. He will also receive 7 million kronor from the supermarket company between January and July 1st this year.


Nooshi Dadgostar, leader of Sweden's Left Party, has said that she believes the CEOs should not have received any bonus at all.

"Yes, of course," she told TT newswire. "Many families are extremely worried about the fact that they cannot shop in the same way they're used to. Continuing to hand out these fantasy payouts, profits and bonuses in the light of that is offensive."

Social Democrat financial spokesperson Mikael Damberg has also criticised the bonuses, pointing out the fact that normal workers are expected to take responsibility in a situation with sky-high inflation.

"It's a very odd development which the owners of these companies should have thought about, because otherwise it's almost like a slap in the face for many consumers who are currently struggling to pay the expensive food prices," he said.

The chairman of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO), Susanna Gideonsson wrote on Twitter that she was "dismayed" by the news of the food giants' bonuses.

"The hard earned food money of LO families is going straight into the pockets of the leaders of the oligopoly chains," she wrote. "Irresponsible, to say the least. The government needs to wake up. Grab these chains by the ear and stop the rising prices."

Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson, from the centre-right Moderate party, was also critical of the bonuses.

"Responsibility should be taken at all levels," she said.


On Tuesday, the finance minister held a meeting with the leaders of ICA, Axfood, and Coop, the third of Sweden's supermarket giants, to make sure they are not raising prices unnecessarily. After the meeting, she had high hopes that prices would begin to drop again.

Left Party leader Dadgostar dismissed the meeting as nothing but political grandstanding, as no agreement was reached on a price cap for essential goods.

"This meeting was a failure," she said. "It shows that Elisabeth Svantesson is not ready for the role. The prime minister now needs to call the party leaders to a crisis meeting. Parents are avoiding eating dinner so that there is enough food for their children."

Mikael Damberg also criticised the government, stating that he expected a more concrete plan, similar to how price increases have been handled in other countries.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also