STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - ICA Gruppen (ICAA.ST), the owner of Sweden’s biggest supermarket chain, said on Thursday it would increase investments next year to 4 billion crowns (350 million pounds) from 3.5 billion crowns in 2018 as it adapts to a rapidly changing market.
The group, whose food retailer ICA Sweden has four store concepts and operates through a franchise-like system, said in a statement that it had doubled IT investment in 2018 and it would continue to invest heavily in its store network, IT, customer relations and e-commerce.
“Digitalisation and the group structure give us a number of new opportunities to create synergies and new customer benefits. To capitalise on these opportunities and ensure long-term growth, we need to maintain a high rate of investment,” CEO Per Stromberg said ahead of a capital markets day in Stockholm.
ICA Gruppen said priorities for 2019 included rapid online growth and improving its home delivery offering.
They also included boosting the company’s loyalty programme and personalised offerings, as well as the use of artificial intelligence and automation in logistics.
ICA Sweden, whose rivals include Axfood (AXFO.ST), accounts for the bulk of ICA Gruppen’s turnover. Its operations also include a pharmacy chain, a home textiles chain, a bank, real estate and Baltic grocery chain Rimi.
Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Jason Neely