Axfood: stable growth in 2012

Date : 07 February 2013

The Swedish retailer reports sales of SEK 9.2bn for the full year 2012, up 3.8% on 2011.

A year of 'stable earnings and sales'

While revenues were up by 3.8% in 2012, like-for-like sales were less positive at just +0.2%, which CEO Anders Stralman commented on as "not entirely satisfactory". It saw mixed performance across all its divisions, with Willys delivering its best ever set of results (+2.7%), and strong volume growth in the wholesale arm of the business. PrisXtra stores, however, saw sales decline by 8.6% year-on-year as a result of the ongoing traffic disruptions next to its two largest stores in Stockholm. Meanwhile Hemkop delivered very strong growth, with sales rising 20.8% during the year, which it attributes to a series of marketing activities that strengthened the brand.

Investment programme continues

Axfood will continue to invest in opening new stores and modernising the existing portfolio in the year ahead. The Willys modernisation project is due to complete this year, with the remaining 20 stores due to be remodelled and an additional 10 new stores are to open. Also planned for 2013 is the conversion of PrisXtra's largest store, at Norra Station, to the Hemkop banner. The store is to be relocated in an up and coming new district of Stockholm, where Axfood intends to move its headquarters to in 2014.

2013 outlook

Stralman expects the food retail sector in Sweden to remain stable, depsite a forecast downturn in the Swedish economy. He believes Axfood is starting the year in a good position, explaining "we are entering 2013 with the same strategy, a favourable financial position and well managed stores." The ambition for 2013 is to deliver operating profits at the same level as in 2012.