Swiss co-ops show solid growth

Related tags Cent Retailing

Migros and Coop, the two leading co-operative food retailers in
Switzerland, have reported solid gains for 2003, despite continuing
tough conditions in the Swiss market as a whole.

Migros​ reported retail sales of SF16.8 billion for 2003, of which the lion's share (SF14.4 billion) came from its 10 regional co-operative groups, the rest coming from non-food operations.

The co-ops' sales were 1.8 per cent higher than the previous year, with growth in Switzerland outstripping that of the market as a whole - 1.7 per cent compared to just 0.4 per cent.

This in turn led to a 0.4 per cent increase in the company's retail market share, it claimed.

The good performance was attributed to one factor in particular - the company's pricing policy. The company claimed that its prices for 2003 were 0.1 per cent lower than in 2002, despite an average increase of 0.6 per cent for Swiss food prices during the year.

Migros also prides itself on being one of the most ecologically friendly retailers, and reported sales of SF1.8 billion (up from SF1.74 billion) for its Engagement brand of organic products, making it the leading retailer of such products in Switzerland, it claimed.

There was also double digit growth for other 'ethical' brands such as Max Havelaar (+13.4 per cent) and FSC (+17 per cent).

With the tough economic conditions in Switzerland during the year, it comes as no surprise that sales of products under the M-Budget discount label also improved in 2003, rising by 6 per cent to SF209 million.

The performance from Coop Suisse​ was also impressive, with retail sales for the year ahead 5.6 per cent to SF14.5 billion.

Sales from all the group's 'retail' operations (Coop megastores and supermarkets, Coop Pronto convenience stores, Coop City and EPA department stores, Coop Brico+Loisirs DIY centres, Coop restaurants and the Bâlehotels leisure group), were up 5.5 per cent to SF12.1 billion.

Acquisitions added SF550 million in sales during the year, mostly from the takeover of the Waro retail group, which took the number of Coop stores to 1,682 by the end of the year.

Like Migros, Coop has its own range of natural, ethical and organic products, which continued to improve during the year. Sales under the Coop Naturaplan, Coop Naturaline, Coop Oecoplan and Max Havelaar brands were SF1.3 billion.

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