Important events in 2013
In 2013 Rimi Baltic strengthened its position in the Baltic countries. Several new Rimi stores were opened in Lithuania and expansion continued in the other countries as well. Efficiency improvements in sourcing and logistics as well as investments to strengthen customer loyalty continued.
New stores and further development
The store network was expanded to include eight new stores during the year. The expansion, which is expected to accelerate in 2014, to some extent marks the end of a period of consolidation and closure of unprofitable discount stores, which has been a trend in the region in recent years.
One aspect of efforts to strengthen the Rimi brand as perceived by customers is modernising and upgrading the stores. Particular emphasis has been placed on stores in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. The product range has been developed with an emphasis on fresh foods, ready-prepared food, private label products and non-food items. Today many of the stores have separate salad bar, sushi and pizza sections.
Sales of private label products increased considerably in 2013. This had a significant positive impact on profitability while also improving price perception and increasing customer loyalty.
Efficiency improvement in sourcing and logistics
The rollout of the central warehouse was a success and has improved inventory management considerably. It facilitated a focus on greater transport volumes from southern Europe and Asia, and greater volumes from ICA’s central warehouse in Sweden. This in turn has improved efficiency and will reduce costs over time.
Increased customer loyalty
Investment in various types of customer loyalty programmes continued during the year. The so-called loyalty terminals introduced at the end of 2012 have been effective in improving customer loyalty. Development of the customer database will facilitate better marketing to customers in the years ahead.