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Norway: Grocery purchases increased to US$3.6 billion. Norgesgruppen is the big winner

Discount Retail Chain Norgesgruppen (owner of discounter KIWI) is the big grocery retail winner in Norway after 2020.

It was obvious that the grocery industry would experience strong growth in 2020, but now the figures show exactly how much more we spent on butter, cheese and bread in Norwegian grocery stores during the pandemic's first year: NOK 30.5 billion (US$3.6Bn), a growth of 17.1% compared to 2019. The growth alone corresponds to NOK 12,322 (US$1,500) per household in the past year. The big jump is due both to the fact that the border is closed for trade abroad, but also to the fact that many Norwegians have more money on their books as interest rates are low and money they otherwise spent on eating out or traveling has been spent on other things.

The winners and losers

Although the grocery industry as a whole made more money this year, it has still been a battle to gain market share. Here there is only one winner, according to Nielsen.

Kiwi's owner Norgegruppen is the only grocery constellation that increases its market share last year at the expense of its discount competitors in Coop, Rema and Bunnpris.

The reason is that the discounter chain Kiwi is growing by 0.8% points at the same time as the rest of the retail chains Norgesgruppen owns do not weaken as much as the competitors.

At the same time, Coop Extra is growing the most (+0.9% points) and Rema is, despite flat development, still the largest single chain with 23.2% of the market. Norgesgruppen increases its market share by 0.36% points to 44.09% of the total market. Rema is reasonably flat, and Coop is down 0.14% points. This is also the development as it has been in recent years. The Nielsen figures do not give the overall picture of who sells Norwegian groceries. In the wide product range category, discounter Europris and variety discounter Normal have had a very good year, and the former has seen much of the growth come from groceries. Ecommerce discounter has also had a good year, almost doubling its turnover from the previous year.

For both soft drinks, beer and tobacco are among the lures that make Norwegians cross the border, and which are picked up in what are now closed duty-free shops. The increase in sales of these products has been so massive that the Storting decided to investigate cross-border trade in a separate report to the Storting where concrete measures are to be presented to overcome the border leak. The development has also had immediate consequences in that the government and coalition parties lowered the alcohol tax for the first time in almost 20 years.

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