|Key people||Kenneth Bengtsson (CEO)|
|Revenue||96,863 MSEK (2012)|
|Owner(s)||Hakon Invest (100%)|
ICA AB (Inköpscentralernas aktiebolag, lit. the Purchasing Centers' Corporation) is a Swedish retailing corporate group. The company was started in 1938, based on a business model which was introduced by Hakonbolagen in 1917. Most of its operations are based in Scandinavia, and the company is the largest retail company in the Nordic countries.
The company was owned by the participating retailers until 2000 when half of the company was sold to the Dutch retailer Ahold. It acquired a further 10% in 2004. Ahold is prevented by contractual obligation from exercising majority control over ICA. In 2013 Ahold sold its shares to Hakon for $3.1bn.
An approximation of the usual pronunciation of the name in Sweden for an English speaker would be 'ee-kah'.
In Sweden, ICA Sverige AB operates about 1,350 retail stores as of 2009. The stores have different profiles, depending on location, range of products and size:
- ICA Nära ("ICA Nearby") — Convenience-type stores for daily retail needs.
- ICA Supermarket — Mid-size supermarkets, located near where customers dwell or work carrying a wide range of products.
- ICA Kvantum — Superstores for large, planned purchases. Large spaces allocated for traffic and parking. Typically located outside of the cities.
- MAXI ICA Stormarknad — Hypermarkets with a full range of groceries as well as fashions, homewares, entertainment and electrical. Smaller stores do not offer the fashion and electrical ranges while the largest stores also have a DIY and gardening department.
Each store is owned and operated separately, but operations are coordinated within the group. All feature ICA brand products.
Since 2001, ICA has run a series of television commercials featuring the staff and customers of a fictional ICA store. As of September 2010 approximately 320 commercials have aired.
ICA meat repackaging controversy
In December 2007, a meat repackaging fraud scheme was made known to the public. Hans Hallén, a former quality control manager for supermarket chain ICA has revealed that the company knew that meat was being illegally repackaged as early as 2003. Hans Hallén, who monitored ICA stores in southern Sweden from 2003–2005, said he had informed the company's managers of the exact practices that were exposed on 5 December 2007 by the Sveriges Television in its weekly investigative television programme Uppdrag granskning. According to Hallén, many stores engaged in practices such as repackaging meat in order to change the expiry date.
ICA Norge AS runs about 600 stores in Norway as of 2009. Store sales were at approximately 21 billion SEK (excluding VAT). Formerly known as Hakongruppen and owned by Stein Erik Hagen, it operated solely RIMI discount stores until ICA bought the chain, and transformed many of the stores to the ICA brand. After the take-over ICA has been losing market shares in Norway. ICA Norway is divided into four different stores:
- ICA Nær (closing 2012-2014)
- ICA Supermarked
- ICA Maxi (closed 2012)
- RIMI (a chain of food stores)
ICA's wholly owned subsidiary Rimi Baltic operates discount stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
ICA Bank operates in Sweden and has agency agreements with nearly all ICA stores in the country. The basic idea is to offer banking services that build loyalty among ICA's customers, as well as to increase the share of store transactions executed with ICA's own cards instead of more expensive cards from other banks. Sales amounted to 612 MSEK in 2010.
ICA Real Estate
ICA Real Estate's mission is to satisfy the Group's need for the right properties in the right locations in Sweden and Norway. This is currently done by owning, renting and strategically developing marketplaces. The Group currently owns around 180 store properties.
Until the mid-1990s, Statoil and ICA jointly operated Statoil Detaljhandel AB (Statoil Retail Ltd) which ran approximately 1,300 petrol stations in Scandinavia, many branded under the name ICA Express. ICA has since sold its 50 percent share of the business back to Statoil and the ICA name was removed from the petrol stations during 2007.
ICA previously had a 50 percent stake in the ISO chain of supermarkets in the Copenhagen region, Denmark. In 2004, ICA sold its entire holding in ISO.
The Swedish operation of Danish supermarket chain Netto was founded in 2002 as a joint venture between Dansk Supermarked and ICA. The joint venture was named Netto Marknad AB. At the end of 2006, ICA announced it was pulling out of the joint venture, reducing its stake from 50 to 5 percent. Twenty-one of the Netto stores in the Stockholm and Västmanland regions were transferred to ICA's ownership and rebranded to ICA's own formats or closed during 2007.
- "Årsredovisning 2012" (in Swedish). ICA AB. Retrieved 20 July 2013.