Coop Denmark has opened the first three stores under its new Brugsen concept, in Copenhagen and North Zealand.
The new format will see grocery stores focused on community and local products, says the co-op, which is busy streamlining its brand under its Coop of the Future strategy.
Before the end of last year the co-op operated eight brands – Kvickly, SuperBrugsen, Dagli’Brugsen, Fakta, 365discount, Irma, Coop.dk Shopping and Coop.dk MAD – which are being reorganised to three under the shake-up.
The main Coop banner will bring together the biggest stores from the Kvickly, SuperBrugsen and Irma chains to form the country’s largest supermarket chain.
Brugsen is the third chain, which will consist of smaller stores, including those from the co-op’s old Dagli’Brugsen chain of local shops.
The first three to launch are among 11 stores carried over from the Irma brand. The change – which will see the co-op rebrand or close all Irma stores by the end of the year – marks the end of an era for Danish retail: Irma, a high-end brand, is an iconic name on the country’s high streets: it was established in 1886 and underwent several changes of ownership before being acquired by the co-op in 1982.
But the co-op says the strategy – which will see the Irma name survive as a product range – is needed to make it more efficient, simpler and cheaper for customers. It comes as competition in Denmark’s grocery sector intensifies, with Aldi already forced to pull out of the country, selling 114 of its stores to Norwegian rival Rema at the start of this year.
“We want to be an alternative to the large streamlined discount chains,” Brugsen director Torben Andersen told European Supermarket Magazine. “In our chain, with Denmark’s most locally customised stores, we know how crucial it is to have the right staff in the store, who know the wishes and needs of the locals. Therefore, it is gratifying that ten out of 11 store managers plus staff will continue in the stores.”
The new stores will bring together a range of Coop’s products. including products from Änglamark and Irma, alongside organic produce, freshly baked bread from BrødCooperativet, and seasonal Danish fruit and veg.
“We have great respect for the Irma brand,” said Andersen. “From the start, there has been a strong focus on ensuring a smooth transition for both the new colleagues in Brugsen and, not least of all, the customers, whom we are very much looking forward to welcoming.”