Coop Norway: We look forward to have a franchise concept

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ICA Norway’s portfolio of 553 stores completes Coop perfectly, giving Coop access to new markets, according to Coop Norway today.

But there will also be a new business model to handle. 40 percent of ICA Norway’s stores are franchise operated.

”We are well prepared to get into a franchise concept”, says Coop-CEO Svein Fanebust.

Svein Fanebust, CEO of Coop Norway, says similar to ICA’s Per Strömberg that the acquisition of ICA Norway is a large and important boost for Coop. It is also the best solution for employees, consumers and suppliers when the situation is such that ICA terminates its involvement in Norway.

Coop Norway and ICA Group have agreed a deal whereby all ICA grocery business in Norway, consisting of 553 stores, as well as logistics and support, is sold to Coop.
”This is a historic and joyous day for Coop. We become more available to our 1.4 million members and through the acquisition we reach new customers in more places. ICA Norway has attractive shops that we really look forward to continue operating. In addition, it’s fitting our shop portfolio completely superb”, says Fanebust.

ICA Norway has many stores in regions where Coop wants to increase its presence – for example, on the central Østlandet and Bergen region. Similarly, ICA Norway’s various chains – ICA Supermarket, Supermarket and Matkroken – have fewer stores in regions where Coop today are well represented. Coop has both supermarkets, discount stores and convenience stores, and this allows the diversity in ICA Norway chains to be continued.

”Therefore, we believe this is a good solution that also ensures shops in rural Norway. In many places this is difficult, but we have shown that can make it for example with our convenience store chain Coop Marked. Going forward, we will consider whether ICA’s current concepts will be incorporated into Coop’s chains or whether they should remain as today”, says Fanebust.

Approximately 40 percent of the stores in ICA Norway are operated by franchisees. This mode of operation is planned to continue in Coop.

”Franchise Operations is new and interesting for us, and we look forward to have many skilled merchants with the Coop-team. We are well prepared to get into a franchise concept in our central organization”, says Fanebust.

The acquisition will give Coop synergies in purchasing, support, logistics and store operations.

”Synergies will boost our competitiveness and lead to lower prices for our customers. We aim for a significant investment program where many shops get a solid boost. We believe customers will notice and appreciate that”, says Fanebust.

Nationwide, Coop and ICA Norway has 22.7 and 11.1 percent shares of the market respectively.

”Many would probably have preferred that it continued to be four major players in the Norwegian grocery market. ICA Norway, however, has decided to sell its Norwegian operations. This will ensure customers access to quality goods at low prices, and the continued diversity of stores across the country”, says Fanebust.