Denmark flag Denmark: Buying and Selling

The distribution network in Denmark

Evolution of the Sector
In 2020, Denmark’s modern grocery retail sector was valued at around USD 20 billion (New Zealand Trade and Enterprise). Modern grocery retailers, in particular discounters, hypermarkets and supermarkets, continued to see solid growth in 2021, although lower than in 2020. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic-related restrictions and closures, consumers spent more time cooking at home (MarketLine).
The food retail market is well developed in Denmark, and it is dominated by two large retail chains, COOP and Salling Group, which account for nearly 70% of the total market (, 2021). Danish grocery companies are struggling with a flat market, fierce competition and new eating habits among consumers, who are shifting from regular large-scale shopping trips to more frequent and spontaneous visits to local stores, buying products only when needed. Moreover, consumers are more and more aware about environmental problems and about health and wellness trends, thus big chains are trying to adapt their offer providing fresh, organic, and premium products (compared to that of discount-orientated competitors). There are about 30 significant independent food product importers in Denmark (, 2021).

The Danish grocery market is characterized by a high store density compared to European standards, with now approx. 2,600 discount stores, supermarkets and major grocery stores. In recent years, several brands have chosen to reduce the number of outlets (for example, the grocery group Dagrofa closed the discount chain Kiwi, while both Aldi and Coop have also closed some non-profitable stores). Danish supermarkets and discount stores are experiencing greater and greater pressure on earnings. The chains are fighting hard against each other in a market where the development in total sales is flat. Salling Group and Coop Danmark maintained their dominance of supermarkets in 2021.

Market share
As opposed  to other European countries, small businesses (neighbourhood shops) hold an important market share in Danish retail.

There are two main groups in the mass market:
•    Salling Group: 34.1% of market share in 2020, with an estimated turnover of DKK 38.9 billion and a total of 27,500 employees (Coop)
•    COOP: 32.6% of market share in 2020, with an estimated turnover of DKK 37,2 billion and a total of 40,000 employees (Coop). It owns brands like Kvickly, Brugsen, OBS, Irma and Fakta. Different type of outlets, from hypermarkets, supermarkets and mini-markets to discount stores.

The other players include:
•    Reitan
•    Lidl
•    Dagrofa
•    Rema 1000
•    Fleggaard
•    Aldi

Retail Sector Organisations
The Danish Chamber of Commerce
The Trade Council

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Latest Update: March 2024

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