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Norway: All-out price war on fish

Discount Retail Chain Kiwis ((owned by Norgesgruppen) cut the price equivalent to VAT of 15 per cent. Discounters REMA 1000 and Extra directly responded to the stunt.

On Saturday night, a price war started on fish, where the food chains outdid each other in offering the cheapest fish to the people:

  • First, Kiwis announced that they are cutting the price equivalent to VAT of 15 percent.

  • REMA 1000 responded by cutting 20 percent.

  • Extra then announced that they will sell fish as cheap as REMA 1000.

  • In the end, Kiwi said that they will match the offer from both competitors.

"We are the price pusher and are pleased that competitors are following suit," Kiwi communications director Kristine Arvin.

Before REMA 1000 and Extra came on the scene, Arvin stated that they would cut the price equivalent of VAT on all fresh and frozen fish until October 1.

This adds to a series of steps Kiwis have taken over the past year, with the price freeze in February being the largest. Then Kiwis chose to drop the price jump that happens on February 1 every year (when suppliers increase prices into stores). The other chains Coop Extra and Rema followed suit.

Kiwi gets more grip

Economists believe the price freeze may even have had an impact on mortgage rates, because food prices remained artificially low. Kiwis also saw all-time customer growth due to the February grip.

Economist and author Anders Nordstad reacts to the fact that the price cut to Kiwis is not much bigger. On social media, he writes about, among other things, the grocery industry.

Nordstad points out that the price of fish has fallen by 42 percent on the commodity exchange Fish Pool since mid-March.

Kiwis see that fish sales have declined over the past year, fish have become more expensive and people have been given worse advice. Arvin believes they have not increased profits on fish and that it is the price to those who have jumped in price.

"Fish is not a lucrative commodity to sell, but for the state it is because they get 15 percent in VAT revenue. We have calculated on that, and with the increased revenues the state has received with increased prices, they could have financed a VAT cut, we believe that would have been a good investment in public health."

Kiwis also cut VAT on fish in 2019 and then sales increased by 42 per cent in a few weeks.

"If they are serious, they should make sure that healthy choices can be made. Neither current nor previous governments have followed suit, so this call goes out to all parties.

REMA 1000 and Extra respond to the Kiwi stunt

On Saturday evening, REMA 1000 also announces a campaign, where they cut the price of all fish and fish food by 20 percent: "REMA 1000 will sell healthy, quality products at the cheapest price in the country," says Pia Mellbye, sales and marketing director at the food chain. She says this is a long-planned campaign. "We have set aggressive goals to sell more of what the authorities say is good for health, and we have promised to make healthy choices easy to make in everyday life.

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