Year in Review 2023

Strong end to a challenging year

The past year was largely characterised by high inflation, rising interest rates, recession and ongoing conflicts around the world. For ICA Gruppen this was mainly noticeable within the grocery sector, where changes in demand and an overall heightened focus on price brought great challenges for ICA Sweden, the independent ICA retailers and Rimi Baltic.
Nina Jönsson, CEO of ICA Gruppen

During the year, high inflation and a clear trend of a greater focus on price put significant pressure on grocery retail operations within ICA Gruppen.

It is obvious that ICA Sweden had a challenging year, with negative volume development and lower profit share from ICA stores having a relatively significant negative impact. However, major investments in price and offerings resulted in a strong end to the year with good growth and, for the first time in a long time, positive volume development. Combined with the efficiency improvement measures that were implemented, this resulted in the full-year profit reaching the level of the previous year.

In terms of profit, 2023 was the second best year ever for Rimi Baltic thanks to a strong focus on efficiency and costs. A significant decrease in energy costs also had a positive effect. Comprehensive investments were made during the year in price and offerings which, towards the end of the year, resulted in a clear improvement in sales growth.

Apotek Hjärtat had its best year ever with an all-time high for both operating profit and market share. In 2023 Apotek Hjärtat solidified its market position, leveraging large competitive advantages from its network of pharmacies, co-location with ICA and e-commerce operations.

ICA Bank also delivered record profits. This profit growth was mainly due to significantly higher net interest income, which was in turn a direct result of higher market interest rates. ICA Insurance continued to grow during the year, albeit at a somewhat slower pace than previously.

For ICA Real Estate 2023 was a year of several large divestments, which totalled more than SEK 5 billion and were successfully implemented in a difficult property market.

Altogether ICA Gruppen’s net sales increased during the year by 8.3% to SEK 147.6 billion. Operating profit excluding items affecting comparability amounted to SEK 6.4 billion, corresponding to an operating margin of 4.3%.

Focus on ensuring good prices

Although food price inflation in Sweden and the Baltic countries was high during the year, the inflation rate fell sharply at the end of the year, particularly in the Baltics. From the beginning of 2022 the high inflation was driven by a series of external factors in the form of pandemic effects, climate change and the war in Ukraine, all of which resulted in the entire food supply chain being hit by large cost increases. Sweden was also impacted by a weakened krona.

This resulted in rising food prices for households. Combined with generally higher cost levels and rising interest rates, this brought significant challenges for many households, which in turn caused a clear increase in price awareness and a greater demand for low prices and discounted items.

Both ICA Sweden and Rimi Baltic worked hard during the year to ensure that they could offer good prices and high value for money. This involved lowering the price of basic items, offering more discounts both in store and online, adjusting the assortment and continuing to develop the range of private label products. There has been a particular emphasis on offering attractive prices on fruit and vegetables. Initiatives in Sweden are taking place in close cooperation with the independent ICA retailers.

Efficiency improvement, reprioritising and greater cooperation within the Group

To free up resources for initiatives that enable prices to be lowered, to strengthen the offering and to drive growth, in 2023 we continued the efficiency improvement programme adopted at the end of 2022. All of these measures were necessary given the situation in the world around us, but they will also benefit us and provide leverage in a more normalised market.

In addition to strengthening and fine-tuning individual parts of the business, we have also put a lot of effort into ensuring that we are, to the greatest possible extent, leveraging the Group structure and the opportunities it creates – both for internal efficiency and for creating new types of customer offerings. We have now really shifted up a gear in this area. We have reduced the number of overlapping functions and implemented multiple changes to our organisational structure aimed at facilitating faster decisions, a stronger focus on sales and generally offering better support to the ICA retailers.

In terms of new services and Group-wide offerings that strengthen the entire business, examples include the continued rollout of our housing loan offering, enhancement of the Stammis loyalty programme, providing interest on ICA card balances, the new ICAx package delivery service and the food insurance plan just launched by ICA Bank at the beginning of 2024.

Double social responsibility

Inflation and high energy prices impact not only consumers and customers but also farmers and food producers. Extensive initiatives have been under way for a long time within both ICA Sweden and Rimi Baltic aimed at supporting local food production and assisting local suppliers in various ways. This is important work, both as a response to customer demand for locally produced items, and to support farmers and vibrant farming communities.

We have a vital role to play here. Supporting agriculture has been one of ICA Gruppen’s top priorities for many years, but our efforts will now be further intensified.

There is also a security policy dimension here, because this is essentially about ensuring stable domestic food production. The war in Ukraine and the worsened geopolitical situation in general have increased the focus on the issue of national self-sufficiency. In the early 1990s Sweden’s farmers produced around 75% of the country’s food. Today around 50% of everything we eat in Sweden comes from outside our nation’s borders. We need to see this change. Finland is around 80% self-sufficient.

Self-sufficiency is, however, only one aspect of many and, in a globalised world, value chains are only as strong as their weakest link. What is needed is more cooperation between actors and a broader discussion on how we can work together to ensure that the systems are robust.

Focus on the future

Food price inflation is continuing to go down and we now have good volume growth in our grocery retail business again. Although the situation remains uncertain and hard to assess, there are still indications that many things are moving in the right direction, for the year and for the grocery retail market as a whole.

To continue growing volumes and market share, and reinforcing our market positions in general, are among our top priorities. A key factor is the continuation of our initiatives and investments focused on price. During the year, ICA Sweden and the ICA retailers will make a joint, long-term investment to lower prices. This will involve broad price reductions, above all on everyday items that customers purchase often. ICA Sweden will invest a total of around SEK 1 billion to reduce ordinary prices for the ICA stores, enabling them to lower prices for consumers. The ICA retailers will also make their own substantial price investments to benefit consumers. Exactly how large the price reductions will be on individual items will vary from store to store, but ICA’s customers will notice that the prices are lower.

There will also be a major emphasis on strengthening customer loyalty, which will include continued development of the Stammis customer loyalty programme. The overarching and shared goal is to make it more financially beneficial for customers to be loyal to ICA Gruppen’s various businesses.

Sustainability will also be a top priority. The consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly evident and there is no doubt that the world is facing significant environmental and resource-related challenges. 2023 was the warmest year measured so far. Each month from June to December was warmer than the same month the previous year. To help break this trend and limit the consequences of it, enormous investments are needed. As an important actor in society we have a particular responsibility, but also real opportunities to impact and contribute to positive change. We have been a signatory to the UN Global Compact since 2004, and in the years ahead we will continue our efforts towards the 2030 target of reaching net zero emissions in our own operations and reducing the climate impact of our customers’ food purchases by 30%.

Closeness is greatness

In uncertain times it is even more important to have a clear vision and strategy. We have these. We intend to continue to grow within our core business of grocery retail, but also within our complementary operations of non-food, pharmacy, banking and insurance. We will do this through continued improvement in each of our business areas, but also through increased internal collaboration and more seamless interactions between our physical and digital channels. All of this will be done while keeping the best interests of our customers front and centre, and based on the clear vision of making every day a little easier.

One of our biggest strengths is our strong culture in which the retailer perspective, entrepreneurship and local market knowledge are vital components. Closeness is greatness. The ICA Idea – to combine individual drive with joint efforts – has been the foundation of ICA’s business model and value creation for more than 100 years. As we now look to the future, we will use ICA’s combined strengths to make our company more robust, but also to create even more value for our customers and society in general.

Stockholm, February 2024

Nina Jönsson

Key figures

147,645 SEK m

Sales 2023

6,363 SEK m

Operating profit 2023*


Operating margin 2023*

*Excluding items affecting comparability

Major focus on ensuring attractive prices

Rising food prices combined with higher interest rates contributed to a marked increase in price consciousness during the year, as well as increased demand for low price and discounted products. During the year both ICA Sweden and Rimi Baltic focused on ensuring attractive prices for customers. This included lowering prices on many basic items and offering more discounts, both in physical stores and online. ICA Sweden does this in close cooperation with the independent ICA retailers.

Good prices on basic items

Further price reductions

In addition to price reductions already made, ICA Sweden and the ICA retailers will make a joint investment in lower prices in 2024. There will be broad price reductions, above all on everyday items.

Continued development of the private label assortment

The assortment of private label products plays an important role in efforts to ensure good prices. The range was broadened and developed further in 2023 with a particular focus on low prices.

Emphasis on fruit and vegetables

ICA Gruppen wants to make it easier to have a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle – even when times are more challenging. In 2023 the Group therefore had a particular emphasis on offering good prices on fruit and vegetables. Consuming fruit and vegetables is important for the environment but also for our own health.

Double social responsibility

Inflation and higher costs impact not only consumers and customers but also farmers and food producers. Extensive initiatives have been under way for a long time within both ICA Sweden and Rimi Baltic aimed at supporting local food production and assisting local suppliers in various ways. These efforts were maintained in 2023, including through continuing initiatives in cooperation with the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF). This essentially involves standing up for and safeguarding a strong agricultural sector and stable domestic food production. As major actors, ICA and Rimi Baltic have vital roles to play here and an important responsibility.

Closeness is greatness

Throughout Sweden there are retailers who know that local presence, serving local communities and the opportunity to be part of people’s everyday lives are what makes ICA great.

An active role in local communities

ICA Gruppen’s businesses are helping in various ways to strengthen local communities. By providing food, medicines and healthcare, and acting as an agent for postal services, the state alcohol outlet Systembolaget and others, ICA Gruppen’s businesses fulfil multiple important functions. In Sweden at the end of 2023 ICA had a presence in 286 out of 290 municipalities and Apotek Hjärtat in 169. In Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Rimi Baltic had a total of 308 stores.

ICA is involved in extensive sponsorship and fundraising activities at both the central and local level. In Sweden ICA retailers account for a substantial and important part of ICA’s sponsorship activity. Their commitment to local sports clubs, cultural events and social sponsorship is significant and impactful.

Groceries and pharmacy products in close proximity – to make every day a little easier

With its 390 pharmacies, Apotek Hjärtat is among the pharmacy chains in Sweden with the largest geographical coverage. During the year the Group opened a total of five new pharmacies, three of which are in new localities. All of the new pharmacies are close to ICA stores. In addition, a number of pharmacies were relocated to further increase co-location with ICA stores. Co-location makes life noticeably easier for customers.

More locally produced items in stores

There is substantial and growing demand for locally produced food. Various initiatives took place during the year within both ICA Sweden and Rimi Baltic aimed at supporting local food production and assisting local suppliers in various ways. These efforts combine assortment development with marketing of the message to choose locally produced items.

24-hour stores increase availability

Within ICA, Rimi Baltic and Apotek Hjärtat the store and pharmacy network is continually being optimised. In addition to improvements to existing stores and pharmacies, new types of concepts are being tested. To increase the level of service and availability, unstaffed and 24-hour grocery stores are, for example, being tested in several locations in Sweden. At the end of 2023 there were 53 unstaffed stores and there are plans to open more in the future. Some are located adjacent to existing stores, while others will be in standalone locations. Most will be in sparsely populated areas or small towns. Customers use the ICA ToGo app and BankID to enter the stores.

Continued efforts to reduce emissions – all the way from production to consumption

Efforts continued during the year to reduce the Group’s climate footprint all the way from production to consumption. This spanned a large number of areas and included multiple activities and initiatives. The overall long-term ambition is to reduce the climate footprint of the entire value chain in line with what is needed to reach the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal.

ICA Gruppen’s climate targets

  • Net zero emissions from the Group’s own operations by 2030
  • Cut the climate impact of customers’ grocery purchases in half by 2030*
  • ICA Gruppen suppliers to adopt science-based climate targets no later than 2025

*From the beginning of 2024 the ambition is being adjusted to align with the Corporate Net-Zero Standard from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

To facilitate more sustainable food systems – locally and globally – changes are needed to promote more sustainable production, along with a transition in consumption to a higher percentage of plant-based food and a reduction in waste throughout the value chain. Within both ICA Sweden and Rimi Baltic efforts continued during the year to stimulate, inspire and encourage sustainable choices in various ways. This involves producers and suppliers as well as ICA retailers, store employees and customers.

Special activities in 2023 included a continued active focus on shifts in the assortment, including in ICA’s Swedish plant-based range and initiatives in fruit and vegetables, and increasing awareness of how exposure of plant-based items in stores impacts sales. Efforts also continued to encourage suppliers to work on their science-based climate targets.

In terms of the impact of ICA Gruppen’s own operations, at the end of the year goods transport accounted for 68% of the Group’s remaining greenhouse gas emissions. Long-term efforts are under way to reduce these emissions. This involves the optimisation of flows between warehouses and stores, a gradual transition to renewable fuels and electrification of transport. There are also joint innovation initiatives in this area. By 2030 all goods transport by road for ICA Gruppen’s Swedish companies is to be fossil-free. In Sweden’s metropolitan regions (Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö) this transition is to take place as soon as 2025.

The partnership with Volvo Trucks continued in 2023 and included electric transport solutions in Sweden. Rimi Baltic was also the first grocery actor in Latvia to take part in a pilot project during the year to test electric transport between warehouses and stores.

Working towards conversion of its entire transport system, ICA is also focusing on innovation in areas such as hydrogen-powered transport and fuel with a lower climate impact. In 2023 a contract was signed with Maersk to use biomethanol for long-range sea freight shipping. This will reduce ICA’s climate footprint from this type of transport by 80%. ICA has also signed an agreement with MaserFrakt for a pilot project involving a hydrogen-powered lorry. This makes ICA the first actor in Sweden (and among the first in the world) to have hydrogen-powered grocery transport.

Efforts continued during the year to reduce energy consumption. For the Group’s Swedish operations the target is a 20% reduction in energy use by 2030. By that date all energy used is to be renewable. Electricity produced by ICA Gruppen is to be used in 25% of the store properties and constitute 10% of the energy use at logistics properties.

Key aspects of the Group’s energy strategy include measures to reduce energy use and to use energy more efficiently, as well as enabling the Group to produce more renewable energy. Installing solar panels on roofs is an important part of this work. In 2023 solar panels were installed at Maxi ICA Stormarknad Kristinehamn and Maxi ICA Stormarknad Välsviken, among other locations. Each of these systems has an output of 499 kW and is estimated to produce around 420,000–440,000 kWh/year.

During the year ICA Sweden and Rimi Baltic continued their various initiatives to reduce food waste in stores and warehouses, and among customers. The target is 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.

The highest priority is prevention, and gathering accurate food waste data is crucial to this effort. In 2023 efforts to use data-driven insights and AI to minimise waste continued. ICA Sweden, for example, is partnering with foodtech company Whywaste through the innovation hub ICAx. Within the framework of this partnership all stores are offered an AI-driven tool that provides store-specific, data-based recommendations in realtime on how the store can prevent and reduce its food waste. In the Baltics the AI tool for automatic discounts on short-dated items, which was introduced at the end of 2022, has now reached more than a million customers and has helped to reduce waste significantly.

In 2023 ICA Sweden joined a voluntary agreement called SAMS, short for Samarbete för minskat matsvinn (Cooperation for reduced food waste). The initiative was launched in 2020 as part of the Swedish Government’s investment in food waste reduction and is being run jointly by Sweden’s National Food Agency, Environmental Protection Agency and Board of Agriculture. The partnership with the Stadsmissionen organisation and its social supermarket concept called Matmissionen (Food Mission) also continued. In both Sweden and the Baltic countries there are several other partnerships with organisations such as Karma, Food2Change, ­TooGoodToGo and Food Bank to sell on and donate goods that could end up as waste.

Rimi in Estonia was involved in a pilot project in 2023 in cooperation with the FoodLoop start-up to study the possibility of donating more ready meals that might otherwise be thrown away. In Latvia the number of stores donating food to local food banks increased during the year. To help customers reduce food waste, Rimi Baltic has also continued its partnership with the start-up PlantJammer which autogenerates recipes on its website for the leftovers customers have at home.

Continued investment in health

ICA Gruppen wants to promote better public health. By virtue of ICA Gruppen’s size and through cooperation, the various businesses within the Group are well-equipped to reach out and in various ways inspire people to live a healthier life – thereby making a difference to both individuals and society. Initiatives during the year included inspiring healthy eating habits and regular exercise, developing the range of healthcare services and continuing to provide advice on medicines and personal finances.

Special focus on children and young people

Children and young people are target groups that are a particular priority. During the year around 400 school classes in years 2 and 5 used ICA Sweden’s educational material Kompis med kroppen (Buddy with your Body), which explains the benefits of good diet and exercise. In addition, 170 classes took part during the year in Melliskockarna (Snack Chefs), an initiative developed by ICA Sweden in cooperation with Generation Pep. The ambition is for children of preschool age to learn how to make healthy snacks.

In Estonia a campaign was launched in spring 2023 where members of the public were asked to vote on projects that promote a healthy lifestyle in three municipalities. The projects selected, which included a number of initiatives to introduce preschool children to food production and healthy eating habits, received EUR 10,000 each in funding from Rimi.

Blood pressure checks

In Sweden more than 2.3 million people are living with high blood pressure, and almost 80% of these have not been diagnosed or are not receiving the right treatment. Untreated high blood pressure is the cause of half of all cardiovascular diseases and almost one fifth of all deaths in Sweden. In order for more people to keep track of their blood pressure, a joint pilot project was launched in 2022 by Apotek Hjärtat and Blodtrycksdoktorn (the Blood Pressure Doctor). In 2023 the project resulted in a partnership that provided easy access to blood pressure measurement at pharmacies throughout Sweden.

Activities to prevent health problems

Efforts to improve public health also include mental health aspects. Inflation, raised interest rates and falling prices in the housing market can in various ways contribute to increased uncertainty or more problems with personal finances, which in turn can increase the risk of health problems.

To address this problem, ICA Bank intensified its focus during the year on providing easy access to advice on personal finances and practical tips on what to consider in uncertain times. The partnership with Lexly regarding legal advice also continued during the year. In 2023 a partnership with the Varannan Vecka app was also launched to help parents work together to find good solutions following a separation.

Apotek Hjärtat continued its partnership with the Mind organisation during the year. The partnership involves financial support for the helplines that Mind operates: Självmordslinjen (Suicide Hotline), Föräldralinjen (Parents’ Helpline), Äldrelinjen (Elderly Helpline) and Livslinjen (Lifeline), where young people can chat with an adult. The partnership also focuses on joint communication, information and education in the area of mental health.

SEK 51 million for cancer research

ICA stores, Apotek Hjärtat and their customers together raised SEK 51 million for Swedish cancer research in conjunction with the Swedish Cancer Society’s 2023 Pink Ribbon campaign – SEK 42 million from ICA and SEK 9 million from Apotek Hjärtat.

Ambition 2030

How we are responding to changes in the world around us

For a long time now, ICA Gruppen’s markets have been changing at a brisk pace – all the more so in recent years as a result of rapid digitalisation and new consumption patterns. These changes are impacting offerings, business models and internal processes. They bring great opportunities – but also challenges.

ICA Gruppen’s goals include ensuring long-term growth with sustained profitability. Ambition 2030 sets out this course in more detail and states where ICA Gruppen is to be in a few years’ time so as to respond to developments in the world around us.

Operating with high efficiency and speed

Deploying next generation technology

Attracting and empowering people


Find personal solutions

  • We excel in our markets by being the best at serving and inspiring all customer segments with tailored, local and attractive offerings to meet a broad range of everyday needs

  • We are recognised for providing personal experiences that create engagement and loyalty, regardless of channel

Save time & effort

  • We are recognised for providing a seamless, frictionless and reliable shopping experience that saves time and effort

  • We simplify and provide solutions for customers so that they have more time and energy for what they value in life

Make sustainable choices

  • We are the recognised industry leader in all our markets, driving the development towards reduced climate impact and a more modern and sustainable food system

  • We are the best in our markets at helping and inspiring customers to make sustainable choices

Get value for money

  • We are seen as offering the best value for money in our markets, in terms of price in relation to quality

  • We meet the needs of diverse customer segments by having offerings that are relevant and affordable across the price range

Operating with high efficiency and speed

  • We optimise our operations for the entire ICA system by maximising the value of our combined assets to strengthen our uniqueness and competitive advantage

  • We use business insights to automate and streamline our processes, thereby reducing costs and freeing up time to spend on value-adding activities

Deploying next generation technology

  • We outperform our competitors in leveraging digital technology, different channels and insights from customer data to optimise the business and increase value to our customers

  • We make data and technology easily accessible to ourselves, our stores and our customers to improve user-friendliness

Attracting and empowering people

  • We are the most attractive and valued employer, where people have opportunities to grow, influence and perform

  • We have a collaborative culture within and across our companies that mobilises the power of the organisation to make us agile, adaptable and insight-driven

How it went for our businesses

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About ICA Gruppen

ICA Gruppen operates in a number of areas important to people’s everyday lives, including grocery, pharmacies, banking and insurance. Everything we do is aimed at making every day a little easier for our customers.

For a Good Tomorrow

Our sustainability work is wide-­ranging and includes a variety of activities and initiatives. Our ambitions come together in the concept For a Good Tomorrow, broken down into five defined areas: local, environment, health, diversity and inclusion, and quality.

ICA Gruppen as a workplace

At ICA we explore, test and create new ways to add smart solutions and provide excellent service in all things great and small. Welcome to a familiar workplace where everyone’s ideas can make a difference.