Group Strategy

ICA Gruppen is driven by the vision to make every day a little easier. Our companies rely on a stable ground with several common strengths. We continue to evolve by finding easier and better solutions for our customers, enabling them to shop more conveniently, cook better food, live a healthier life, have a more stable economy and live in more sustainable communities.

Since the creation of the Group we have consolidated our company structure to become more synergistic – with groceries as our core and complemented by our supporting businesses i.e. pharmacy, non-food, bank, insurance and real estate.

By co-operating between our businesses we create scale and realize important synergies e.g. common loyalty program, co-location of stores, sourcing and administration. In addition, digitalization creates new possibilities for additional synergies e.g. in e-commerce, data and investments in new technology and capabilities.

As the environment is changing more rapidly we also need to be more agile. The Group strategy builds on our stable foundation and common strengths and sets the direction for all businesses within the Group. The Group strategy consists of 5 long-term Strategic target pictures with the purpose to enable and create growth and to fulfil our vision.


The Group´s strategic themes 2021

Our corporate strategy is based on five long-term strategic themes.

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

- We earn our customers’ loyalty with a great brand, a broad ecosystem and a personalised, data driven communication.

- We are committed and inclusive. Together we build a fast moving and constantly learning company.

- We improve continuously and leverage technology to make it easier for our custoners, improve efficiency and value for money.

- We lead the development towards a more sustainable and healthy society - for a good tomorrow.  

Ambition 2025

- ICA is for everyone. We have affordable and locally adapted offers for all customer segments

- With food at the center, we have the leading ecosystem for the customer's daily needs, built around inspiring local marketplaces with complementary products, services, and infrastructure

- We are perceived as one of the companies that do the most to improve public health

- We are perceived as a credible and guiding source to be able to make relevant, healthy, and sustainable choices

- We are the industry leader in the development towards a business with a net-zero climate impact

- We are the most attractive and appreciated employer, with the proudest employees

- We are known for entrepreneurship, modern working methods, constant learning, and for making a difference together

- We have the highest confidence in our data management and offer relevant and personal products and services that create value for all our stakeholders

- We are genuinely data-driven in our daily work and we take full advantage of data in the development of our business

Step-changes 2021-2023

ICA Gruppen’s Board of Directors has adopted the prioritised step-changes for the Group. The step-changes pinpoint where ICA Gruppen needs to consolidate its strengths during the next three years. There are other important areas, but the step-changes are the areas that will require extra effort.

ICA Gruppen has internal targets for each step-change and will measure the progress each year.

The step-changes, with a three-year horizon, replace the previous strategic priorities.

Financial targets

ICA Gruppen is one of the leading retail companies in the Nordic region with a clear strategy for profitable growth. The Group’s financial targets will ensure that ICA Gruppen provides shareholder value over time and will reflect the Group’s focus on the stable grocery retail market. 

The Board of ICA Gruppen has adopted the following long-term financial targets for the Group:

Grow faster than the market

Good sales performance and a strong market position are important factors for achieving and maintaining good profitability and growth in value.

Outcome 2020
Development in 2020 for all of the Group’s grocery retail segments has been significantly impacted since March by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with ICA Sweden seeing favourable volume growth while Rimi Baltic and Apotek Hjärtat developed in the opposite direction.

Outcome financial targets at the end of the previous quarter ›

Operating margin of at least 4.5%

The target level provides room for investments in the business and a return on capital invested, and is at a good level for the sector. In their business control and follow-up work, the Board and Management Team do not take into account non-recurring items; these items are therefore excluded from the target.

Outcome 2020
The improved operating profit for ICA Sweden and ICA Real Estate combined enabled the Group to reach its margin target of 4.5% in 2020. This was possible despite the lower operating profit reported for other operations after the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Outcome financial targets at the end of the previous quarter ›

Return on capital employed of 7.5%

The target level indicates that the Group is using capital effectively. The target was changed at the beginning of 2019 due to accounting changes under IFRS 16.
ICA Bank is not included in the calculation because banking legislation stipulates that its assets and liabilities are not available to the Group. Instead ICA Bank has a target for return on equity that is a more appropriate target for banking operations.

Outcome 2020
Although the average capital employed increased in 2020, the target was reached thanks to an improved result. The outcome was 9.2% (7.9).

Outcome financial targets at the end of the previous quarter ›

Dividend at least 50% of profit for the year

The intention is to provide shareholders with a good dividend while at the same time being able to implement value-adding investments in operations.

Outcome 2020
ICA Gruppen’s AGM resolved in favour of the proposed dividend of SEK 13 per share for the 2020 financial year. The record date for payment of the dividend was set at Monday, 19 April 2021. Dividends was paid via Euroclear Sweden AB on Thursday, 22 April 2021.

Outcome financial targets at the end of the previous quarter ›

Net debt/EBITDA <3.0

A good balance between earnings and borrowing gives the company the freedom and ability to act, even in times of recession. The target was changed as of the beginning of 2019 due to accounting changes under IFRS 16.

Outcome 2020
The Group’s net debt fell slightly during the year due to lower lease liabilities. The underlying net debt, excluding the effects of IFRS 16, increased slightly, primarily due to a significantly higher level of investment in 2020 than the previous year. Net debt was around 1.8 times EBITDA at the end of the year, which is well in line with the Group’s target ratio of below 3 times.

Outcome financial targets at the end of the previous quarter ›

Sustainability targets

To drive and monitor its sustainability efforts, ICA Gruppen sets Group-wide targets in the prioritised focus areas. These are complemented by the targets set by each respective company and those set for specific issues.

To follow up sustainability efforts we have following overall sustainability targets:

ICA Gruppens operations are to be climate neutral from 2020, and have net zero climate impact by 2030

Climate change affects everyone. To contribute to the UN’s goal to limit global warming, ICA Gruppen have long worked in line with science based climate targets, and between 2006 and 2020, greenhouse gas emissions from the Group’s own operations (stores, pharmacies, warehouses and offices) were reduced by 76%. Since 2020, all emissions are offset through carbon credits, making the Group’s operations climate neutral. By 2030, ICA Gruppen are to have net zero climate impact from the Group’s own operations. That will imply continued emissions reductions in line with the Paris agreement, to as close to zero as possible, and at the same time gradually moving from offsetting through carbon credits to measures that balance positive emissions with negative emissions.

An important part of the emissions in ICA Gruppen’s value chain come from the production stage. By 2025, ICA Gruppen’s suppliers accounting for 70% the Group’s upstream climate impact are to have adopted science-based climate targets. At the end of 2020, the outcome was 26%.

  Q2 2021 (R12)
Q2 2020 (R12)
Net zero emissions from own operations by 2030 (tonnes CO2e)  86,709 107,606
Net zero emissions from own operations by 2030 (tonnes CO2e / SEKm turnover) 0.68 0.88

Outcome 2020
ICA Gruppen reached its climate neutrality target in 2020. Since the base year of 2006 emissions of greenhouse gases have decreased by 76%, mainly due to major efforts and improvements in the areas of energy, refrigerants, logistics flows and goods transport. Altogether, emissions have decreased from an average of 111 kg CO2e per square metre to 26 kg CO2e per square metre. All 2020 emissions are offset through climate compensation. The outcome for the supplier target at the end of 2020 was 26%.

ICA Gruppen’s food waste from warehouses and stores will be cut in half by 2025

Food accounts for about a quarter of humanity’s total impact on the climate and it is therefore of utmost importance to take care of and properly handle the food that is produced. Accordingly, in 2019 ICA Gruppen decided to adopt a new Group 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. Food waste is measured using an international standard created by the FLW Protocol (Food Loss and Waste Protocol). Important activities to reach the new target include smarter algorithms for sourcing, producing circular products and having procedures and tools for early identification of food that is at risk of being wasted.

  Q2 2021 (R12) Q2 2020 (R12)
Cut food waste in half by 2025 (food waste weight share) 1.62% 1.63%
Cut food waste in half by 2025 (development as % relative to base year 2016) -11% -11%


Outcome 2020
ICA Gruppen’s food waste has by the end of 2020 been reduced with 14% compared with the base year 2006. A continued focus on purchasing processes, and on registering, following up and analysing the cause of waste has led to an increased pace in reducing food waste. Especially the stores in Sweden have improved their work with systematically measuring and following up on their food waste, which also improves the reliability of data.

ICA Gruppen wants to cut the climate impact of customers’ grocery purchases in half by 2030

A significant share of global climate impact comes from the production and consumption of food. Therefore, ICA does not only set targets to reduce the Group’s own emissions, but also requires suppliers to adopt science based climate targets. ICA Gruppen also wants to cut the climate impact of customers’ grocery purchases in half by 2030.

ICA:s customers in Sweden can already follow their climate footprint from food through the service ”Mitt klimatmål” (My climate target), which also provides personalised tips for reducing climate impact, as well as links to climate guided recipes. ICA also works towards this target by inspiring and supporting customers with shifts in the product assortment, and improving production methods for lower environmental and climate impact, for example within the ICA Växa initiative.

The ambition to cut the climate impact from customers’ grocery purhcases in half was decided upon in 2020, and from 2021 ICA Gruppen will start reporting against the target.

   Q2 2021 (R12) Q2 2020 (R12)
Cut the climate impact of customers' grocery purchases in half by 2030 (kg Co2e/kg sold food) 1.78 1.79
Customers’ purchases of fruit and vegetables are to correspond to a consumption of 500 grams per day by 2025

All Swedish operations within ICA Gruppen have adopted a new health strategy, based on the ambition of making it easier for our customers to live a healthy life, in line with their situation and circumstances. The strategy focusses especially on children and young people.

One target, which can already be noticed in stores, is that we want our customers’ purchases of fruit and vegetables to increase significantly to a level corresponding to 500 grams per person and day by 2025. This change could make a big difference, as the average today is less than 400 grams, and for children and young people only half that.

The target for increased consumption of fruits and vegetables was adopted in 2020, and ICA Gruppen will report against it from 2021.

  Q2 2021
Customers' consumption of fruits and vegetables is to correspond to 500 g per customer and day by 2025, ICA Sweden (grams) 358
Number of new products with reduced or no added sugar, ICA Sweden 1