The ICA Idea
ICA Gruppen’s history is based on the ICA Idea which in turn is built on individual retailers working in cooperation. All of the retailers own and operate their own store enabling them to better serve their customers by tailoring concepts and offerings to local needs. At the same time, individual retailers cooperate in areas such as sourcing and logistics to achieve the same economies of scale as wholly-owned chains. Essentially it is a way to combine collaboration with local adaptation, as close to customers as possible and with a clear vision – to make every day a little easier.
Then and now
ICA dates back to 1917 when Hakon Swenson founded the wholesale business AB Hakon Swenson (Hakonbolaget) in Västerås, Sweden. At the same time he offered retailers the opportunity to become partners in the company.
ICA as a company was founded in 1938 to coordinate the operations of four Swedish purchasing centres, including Hakonbolaget. Combining the operations of the four purchasing centres resulted in an even stronger organisation.
The modern ICA model was first created in 1972 when ICA became a cohesive group of companies and ICA’s Board of Directors had a majority of retailers. The same year the ICA agreement formed the foundation for the modern ICA model. The ICA agreement is a unique way of preserving the ICA Idea by giving talented store employees the opportunity to become business owners with a small financial investment and low risk.
In 2013 the operating activities of ICA and Hakon Invest were combined. To more clearly reflect the focus and future direction of the business, Hakon Invest changed its name in May 2013 to ICA Gruppen and ICA Gruppen has been listed on the stock exchange since 2013.
ICA Gruppen is striving to firmly establish its leading market position in grocery retail, further improve customer confidence and at the same time create a stable platform for sustained profitability and growth. This will be achieved through continued cooperation and by developing businesses that support each other.
Hakon Swenson starts Hakonbolaget from which today’s ICA originated. The heart of the idea even back then was for individual retailers with their own stores to join forces and form purchasing centres so that, through coordinated purchasing and other forms of collaboration, they could achieve the same economies of scale as chain enterprises.
ICA AB is formed based on the purchasing centres that followed Hakon Swenson’s idea in the 1920s and 1930s.
ICA-handlarnas Förbund is formed.
The purchasing centres within ICA AB agreed on a common ICA symbol – today’s ICA logo. Today the ICA logo is one of Sweden’s best-known brands.
ICA becomes the market leader. The successes of the ICA retailers in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s were in part due to the many new residential areas being built where ICA could open stores.
The name of the purchasing centres is changed to ICA AB. ICA-handlarnas Förbund becomes the main shareholder in ICA AB.
ICA Handlarnas AB and Norwegian Hakon Gruppen AS merge under one parent company – ICA AB. ICA Förbundet, which owns ICA Handlarnas AB, becomes the main shareholder in the parent company, but Canica AS, which owns Hakon Gruppen AS, also becomes a significant shareholder.
An agreement with Royal Ahold is concluded. At the end of 2000 ICA Förbundet Invest owns 30% of the parent company ICA Ahold AB, while Norwegian Canica AS owns 20% and Royal Ahold owns 50%. Hakon Invest is created under the name ICA Förbundet Invest AB.
ICA Bank’s operations are launched.
In 2004 Canica sells its shares, after which ICA-förbundet Invest owns 40%.
ICA and Kesko form Rimi Baltic AB as a joint venture. ICA Förbundet Invest AB changes its name to Hakon Invest AB. Hakon Invest’s share is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
ICA acquires Kesko’s share of Rimi Baltic AB and with it the brands Rimi Hypermarket, Rimi Supermarket, Säästumarket and Supernetto.
Conversion to the new red Rimi begins in Norway.
ICA launches Cura pharmacies and ICA To Go.
ICA Bank expands its services to include mutual fund solutions. ICA Norway divests the Norwegian ICA Maxi stores.
Hakon Invest acquires Ahold’s stake in ICA and the Group changes its name to ICA Gruppen.
ICA Gruppen acquires Apotek Hjärtat.
ICA Bank launches insurance business.
ICA celebrates 100 years.