Annual Report


We make every day a little easier


Highlights during the year

Stable development in a changing market

Stable development in a changing market

In 2019 ICA Gruppen’s underlying operating profit increased by slightly more than 9%, with good earnings growth in particular for ICA Sweden. A generally high level of activity and a number of major investments for the future contributed to a high level of investment. Cash flow remained strong.

Strong online sales performance

Strong online sales performance

Online sales rose substantially again this year. Online sales for both ICA stores and Apotek Hjärtat increased faster than the market in general during the year. The ICA stores’ online sales increased by 33% and Apotek Hjärtat’s by 40%.

New Group targets within sustainability

New Group targets within sustainability

During the year the Group adopted a new target to cut food waste from warehouses and stores in both ­Sweden and the Baltic countries in half by 2025 compared with the base year 2016. In addition, a new fuel strategy was adopted under which all road transport within ICA Gruppen’s Swedish operations is to be fossil free by 2030. In metropolitan regions this is to be achieved as early as 2025.

119 Bn

Sales 2019 in SEK

5.4 Bn

Operating profit 2019*

4.5 %

Operating margin 2019*

*Excluding items affecting comparability


Strong position in a rapidly changing market

As we begin a new decade, we do so from a strong base. We have a stable platform that provides a good basis for sustainable growth with sustained profitability. The extensive digital investments in recent years are opening the way for completely new types of synergies and joint opportunities. This applies not least to the possibility of creating ecosystems where we can offer attractive, collective customer offerings from the Group’s various operations.

Actively working towards a more sustainable society 
The companies of the future will be beneficial to society, and with our many customer interactions, we can maximise our positive impact by helping people make healthy and sustainable choices – which in the longer term will help bring about improvements in public health and the climate. Where ICA Gruppen’s own environmental impact is concerned, several major initiatives are under way. The foremost include implementing a new fuel strategy aimed at making all goods transport in the Group’s Swedish operations fossil free by 2030.

Per Strömberg, CEO ICA Gruppen


A long-term strategy for continued growth

ICA Gruppen’s strategy is aimed at ensuring long-term growth with sustained profitability – in a market in major transition. The strategy is based on the Group’s combined strengths and five common objectives that ­provide the framework and, together with the vision, the long-term focus going forward.

Strategic objective: We are where our customers are, locally, digitally and personally, with strong and affordable ­customer offerings.

Background: Customer expectations are growing all the time. To remain relevant it is essential to have strong concepts, efficient channels and customised offerings – to help make every day a little easier for the customers. In addition the corporate structure provides good opportunities to use ICA Gruppen’s ecosystem for cross-selling – through co-location in both physical and digital channels.

ICA Gruppen's ambition
• Be a natural customer destination in both physical and digital ­channels
• Be a market leader in each ­individual segment
• Grow faster than the market in emerging markets
• Not be a price leader, but always be perceived as offering value for money
• Develop e-commerce and expand it to include other relevant categories and services

Prioritised step-change areas
Vigorous efforts in multiple areas that are in a period of strong transition, including a broader online offering, meal solutions, efficient last-mile solutions and mortgages

Strategic objective: We earn our customers’ loyalty through a strong brand, a broad ecosystem and personalised, data-driven communication.

Background: ICA Gruppen has some of the strongest brands in Sweden and the Baltic countries, where ICA stands out as the strongest brand by far. Customer trust will be an increasingly important factor in the future. Trust is also something that must always be earned. Relevant services and offerings based on individual preferences are important.

ICA Gruppen's ambition
• Stronger customer relationships by combining digital and analogue services in new, broad ecosystems
• ICA Gruppen’s brands shall have the highest reputation and earn the most trust among the most important stakeholders
• Trustworthy and relevant use of customer data that benefits both ICA Gruppen and the customers

Prioritised step-change areas
Continued development of digital ecosystems, adding new services and offerings

Strategic objective: We are committed and inclusive. Together we are building an agile and constantly learning company.

Background: New technology, new consumption patterns and extensive blurring of industry lines are changing the conditions in the industries in which ICA Gruppen operates. Rapid development is placing great demands on readiness to change and constantly grow – for ICA Gruppen as an organisation but also for each individual employee. A large number of initiatives are under way within the Group, all of them for the overall purpose of increasing agility and securing access to the right talent.

ICA Gruppen's ambition
• Be an employer that is attractive to both existing and potential employees
• Be a value-driven organisation with a good corporate culture
• Benefit from economies of scale while also driving innovation

Prioritised step-change areas
• Adapt leadership, collegiality and work structures based on the specific circumstances and goals of each individual business
• Ensure the ability to recruit people with supplementary skills and in areas where more employees are needed
• Stimulate and encourage constant learning every day
• Continue to offer a safe and secure work environment that allows employees to have a sustainable career in a changing world

Strategic objective: We are constantly improving and leveraging technology to make life easier for our customers, improve efficiency and offer value for money.

Background: High cost efficiency is crucial to improving competitiveness over time. Measures to improve efficiency involve both infrastructure development and constant improvement of processes and methods. ­Digitalisation is also creating new opportunities to simplify, automate and optimise various administrative and manual processes.

ICA Gruppen's ambition
• Ensure the best possible core ­processes and drive development with innovation

Prioritised step-change areas
• Increased stability and cost efficiency in the core processes – with a particular emphasis on logistics and common sourcing
• Develop AI and advanced analytics to add business value

Strategic objective: We are driving the transition towards a more sustainable and healthier society – for a good tomorrow

Background: ICA Gruppen’s ambition is to be a leader in corporate responsibility. This ambition is based in part on the fact that ICA Gruppen has a responsibility by virtue of its size, and in part because sustainability and taking a clear stance drive growth. Customers are increasingly demanding sustainable and healthy products and services. Suppliers and partners want to work with companies that take a long-term approach, and tomorrow’s employees want to work for responsible companies.

ICA Gruppen's ambition
• Be a positive force in society and a leader in corporate responsibility
• Sustainability must be a common theme in everything the Group does; it must lead to concrete results and ensure the value chain is sustainable – from production to consumption
• Contribute to better public health
• Reduce the use of new fossil plastics and cut food waste from warehouses and stores in half
• One of ICA Gruppen’s Group ­targets is to be climate neutral in 2020

Prioritised step-change areas
• Initiatives and measures that will take us beyond climate neutrality – new Group-wide target


Leading in sustainable enterprise

ICA Gruppen’s ambition is to be a leader in corporate responsibility. Sustainability is therefore an integral part of all ICA Gruppen’s day-to-day operations. Through cooperation within the Group and with other actors in ­society, ICA Gruppen can play a role in improving sustainable development. ICA Gruppen’s sustainability work is primarily carried out within five areas: local, environment, health, diversity and quality.


We will actively contribute to the local communities where we operate.

We will minimise our environmental impact, create climate-neutral operations and help our customers make more sustainable choices

We will actively contribute to improved public health by utilising the strength of our entire organisation

We will enhance our competitiveness by increasing diversity in our organisation and making the most of differences

We will ensure that quality and social responsibility always guide our operations and our business relationships


A fast-changing world

Some of the major trends that are impacting ICA Gruppen’s operations are extensive and fast digitalisation, changed consumption patterns and an increasing focus on health and responsible behaviour.

Rapid technological development and digitalisation are affecting both consumers and businesses. They are changing purchasing behaviour and enabling new actors with new business models to enter the arena. In retail, every part of the value chain is affected – from product development and sourcing to logistics, product supply, data-driven offerings and personalised marketing.

Growth in e-commerce combined with the expansion of discount chains is resulting in increased transparency and a sharper focus on price and value for money.

Customers want better availability, service and offerings. Many also feel that they do not have enough time and this is increasing the demand for ready meal solutions, online shopping options and more efficient delivery. It needs to be easy, convenient, tasty, healthy – and fast.

Corporate responsibility, environmental impact, business ethics and control are increasingly important from both a business and risk perspective. Consumers are demanding sustainable products and services, and suppliers want to work with innovative, long-term and stable customers. Corporate responsibility is considered an increasingly valuable asset among employees of today and tomorrow.

Among the most obvious trends in society is an increased focus on physical and mental health. The health aspects span a broad spectrum of areas – with diet, exercise and work/life balance being increasingly important lifestyle issues. ­Interest in what food and medicines contain and how they are produced has increased significantly in recent years.


ICA Gruppen’s segments

ICA Gruppen operates in a number of areas important to people’s everyday lives, including grocery, pharmacies, banking and insurance. The core business is grocery retail. The intention is for other operations to support the core business, but they may also be developed further for new business opportunities and themselves contribute to profit­ability and continued growth. ICA Gruppen’s operations are divided into five segments and are unified by a common vision of making every day a little easier.