Four Nordic stores to visit in 2021

Date : 01 February 2021

Harriet Cohen

Senior Retail Analyst

In 2020, despite the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there was significant format innovation in the Nordics, especially so in Sweden. This theme has continued into 2021, with several new concepts launching so far this year already.

Last month, we published an exclusive article, 10 Nordic stores to visit in 2021. We described that the region offers something for everyone to be inspired by - from unstaffed convenience stores to outperforming hypermarkets, foodservice innovation to the sustainable discount store of the future. We featured some of the region's leading retailers and explained why you should visit, featuring videos and photos to bring locations to life. Our IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can read the article here.

For those that don't subscribe, here are some of the stores to consider: 

1. ICA, Sweden - ICA Maxi Stormarknad


Hypermarkets were the Swedish market leader’s fastest growing physical store channel in 2020. Store sales excluding VAT grew by 10.5% (9.3% like-for-like) in 2020.

While other European countries have seen hypermarket channel share become increasingly challenged, driven by the growth of online, discount and convenience; ICA’s hypermarkets have accounted for around 30% of its grocery sales over the last five years.

Despite this success, ICA has partnered with retail innovation design agency Blink and ROL Fredbergs to ensure its hypermarkets are relevant for a new generation of customers. The strategy is ‘step change sustainability, “food theatre”, omnichannel integration and smooth shopping … no matter what customer journey or mission you’re on; click and collect, convenience or the big shopping trip’.

ICA has also launched a new restaurant concept, ICAnders, where the ‘menu draws the best from Sweden, mixes with new influences and creates modern classics’.

Why you should visit: This store combines the opportunity to see ICA’s latest thinking in its fastest growing physical channel and sample the new ICAnders restaurant concept, which is its first launch either in or adjacent to a hypermarket.

Address: Follingboväg 70, 621 44 Visby

2. Salling Group, Denmark – Netto

Source: Salling Group

In neighbouring Denmark, discounter-driven sustainable format innovation is high on the agenda.

Market leader Netto has been converting its existing Danish stores to the 3.0 ‘discount store of the future’ concept, with 175 stores having been refurbished.
In December 2020, the discounter advanced further, with the debut of its new concept sustainable store, which has been in development for two years.

Designed in partnership with C.F. Møller Architects and Innovater A/S, the new concept store has a 40% lower energy consumption than standard Netto stores, as well as 65% less CO2 emissions.

Why you should visit: The construction is on par with a standard Netto store and is seen as ‘the new way of building a sustainable supermarket’. A further two stores are under construction in Denmark, while Netto will develop more stores like this internationally too.

Address: Rosenkrantsvej, Bygholm Bakker 3, Horsens

3. Kesko, Finland – fresKo

Source: Ari Viljakainen, LinkedIn

Meanwhile in Finland, Kesko has piloted a new café concept, having ended its partnership with Starbucks.

The new concept, fresKo, is uniquely decorated by ex-boxer Eva Wahlstrom and offers meal solutions and coffee for consumption in-store or takeaway.
Product highlights include freshly prepared lunch salads and bowls from the ‘home kitchen’, as well as ramen-style soups. Green Bakery products are also popular, as are organic products. Meanwhile unstaffed checkouts are also available for added convenience.

Why you should visit: Kesko joins a variety of other Nordic retailers that are piloting and expanding their own foodservice concepts. fresKo may be rolled out to other locations in Finland, as well as Kesko’s large format K-Citymarket stores in the future.

Address: Shopping Center Sello, Leppävaarankatu 3-9, 02600 Espoo, Finland

4. NorgesGruppen, Norway – Veggie de Luca

Source: NorgesGruppen

Foodservice innovation is also driving development in Norway, where NorgesGruppen’s Deli de Luca chain launched its first vegetarian and vegan-inspired concept, Veggie de Luca, in November 2020. Its focus is on freshly prepared, world-inspired food, including falafel waffles.

Deli de Luca, which was established in 2003, now operates over 100 sites in Norwegian cities and Esso forecourts across the country. The first Veggie de Luca has opened on the same site as the very first Deli de Luca.

Why you should visit: NorgesGruppen’s MENY supermarket chain reported that sales of vegetarian and vegan food increased by 46% in 2019, while in 2020 it expects to achieve sales of NOK1bn in this category (€94m). The trend is especially strong with young people and in cities, like where Veggie de Luca is located. These statistics demonstrate the potential of the category and in the long term, Deli de Luca will explore opening more sites.

Address: Thorvald Meyers gate 34, 0555 Oslo, Norway

Looking for more inspiration in the Nordics?

With so much format innovation happening in the region and Sweden in particular, these are just some of the highlights to visit. For more insight, IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can access 10 Nordic stores to visit in 2021.

There’s something for everyone to be inspired by in the Nordics – from unstaffed convenience stores to outperforming hypermarkets, foodservice innovation to the sustainable discount store of the future.

With retailing across Europe evolving at a fast pace, stay up-to-date with our quarterly insight presentation looking at the latest economic data, retailer results and trends. We look in-depth at 10 things keeping retailers awake at night and solutions emerging across the region.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed most of our travel plans in 2020, there has been no shortage of new store concepts. We highlight 50 new food retail and drugstore concepts that are set to inspire store developments in 2021 and beyond.