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Migros shrugs off economic concerns with sales rise


Swiss co-operative group Migros has reported turnover in excess of SF20 billion (€13.4bn) for 2002, shrugging off poor economic conditions and lower sales from three of its divisions.

The rise in turnover was only small (0.1 per cent), and group figures were dragged down by poor performances from Migros' Hotelplan and Globus (travel and department store) units.

Operating profits for the group dropped by 7.6 per cent to SF451 million, while net profits were affected by the decline of financial markets, dropping to SF178 million (down 37.5 per cent).

But there was good news from the 10 co-operatives which make up the majority of the Migros food retail group. Turnover rose to SF14.2 billion, including the five stores in France and Germany that the Swiss company also operates, up 1.64 per cent.

At home, Migros increased its share of the food retail market by 0.2 per cent, and the company now operates 576 stores there. The number of supermarkets dropped by four stores to 526, while four sporting goods outlets were added to the company's portfolio of specialist stores.

Migros' retail business includes the 10 co-ops, Globus, Migrol and Ex'Libris (service stations and book stores).

Industrie Migros - the food production part of the business - continued to strengthen its position in the Swiss market and abroad, with sales up 3.6 per cent to SF3.8 billion. Export sales, which account for 20-30 per cent of turnover from the key Midor, Chocolat Frey and Mibelle units, rose significantly.

There was also an increase in the level of sales from organic and other ethical foodstuffs, which reached SF1.7 billion, up 13.2 per cent on the previous year, as the company focused on the promotion of its Engagement brand. This covers organic food, environmentally friendly foods or those products made with animal welfare in mind.

These products are already sold under 10 different labels (such as Bio, Max Havelaar, Eco) but will now be unified with the addition of blue label carrying the Engagement umbrella term to help consumers recognise the ethical nature of the product.

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