Grocery stores lose out to border trade

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It shouldn’t come as any surprise, but large grocery stores located just over the border in Sweden are cutting into the revenues of Norway’s smaller, more expensive grocery stores.

New figures from the retail employers’ national organization Virke show that Norwegian consumers will likely spend NOK 2 billion in Swedish grocery stores this summer alone. Virke also estimates that Norwegians will in total spend NOK 36 billion on food and drink.

The cross-border shopping is affecting revenues at Norwegian grocery stores, especially those located in towns and cities close to the border. Norwegian grocery stores in Østfold County, for example, which is located south of Oslo and borders Sweden in both the south and the east, have the lowest revenues per resident in Norway. They amount to around NOK 24,409 per resident, NOK 6,000 less than the national average.

Prices at Swedish grocery stores, however, can be as much as 40 percent lower than they are in Norway while selection and choices are much larger. In some cases individual products cost three times as much in Norway, for example a carton of imported Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. It can now be found on some Norwegian grocery store shelves but costs as much as NOK 54. In Sweden, it’s widely available and costs just SEK 19.80, around NOK 20.

Retailers and wholesalers in Norway, who traditionally are highly profitable, generally try to explain the large price differences by higher salaries, rents and other costs in Norway.

newsinenglish.no staff