Irma bites the dust in Coop reorganization

The term ‘annus horribilis’ was first popularized by Queen Elizabeth II to refer to a year in which three of her four children confirmed divorces/separations.

2016 was definitely one for the celebrities: it started with David Bowie, followed by Prince, Muhammad Ali, George Michael and Carrie Fisher – to name just a few. And what about 2020, and then 2021, for our general well-being – thanks for nothing, pandemic.

Well, this year is fast becoming an ‘annus horribilis’ for supermarkets. It started with the realization that we were never going to stand on Fakta’s hallowed ground again, quickly followed by Aldi’s announcement that it was on the run across the border.

And now this: Kvickly, SuperBrugsen and Irma will soon cease to be! Shortly after the summer break, they merge into just one chain: Coop.

From eight chains to three
Of course, Coop is the name of its owner, so it’s not too far from the unmasking of a superhero – after all, a clue was given last year when the majority of Faktas was taken over by Coop 365rabat, so you could think about : where is regular Coop then?

So now we get to see what Coop is like without the ‘365 discount’. Seen in the light of the fact that the merger is part of a new strategy “to give the Danes better and cheaper groceries” – not so different!

While SuperBrugsen bites the dust, Brugsen must fight to see another day. The overall result is that Coop will only operate three chains when the year is over. By the end of 2021, it had eight.

Lots of job losses
The biggest casualty of the merger will be Irma – a chain that is increasingly struggling as shoppers look for discounted items, according to Coop.

While the iconic Irma lady will live on as a brand on some of its high-end products, 17 of its 65 stores will close as of April 1. Nine will become Coop stores, 28 will continue as Coop 365 discounts and 11 small ones will survive as Brugsen stores.

Irma has around 2,000 employees, and many will be offered jobs by Coop, but not all.

“It is a decision that hurts us deeply,” noted Coop’s managing director Kræn Østergård Nielsen. “Because we have enormous respect for the strong culture in Irma, the exceptional employee effort and the many customers’ loyalty and warm feelings for the chain.”

Just shy of 140 years
Irma has one proud history. Founded in 1886, it began life as an egg shop located at Ravnsborggade 13 in Nørrebro under the name Mælkeforsyningen Ravnsborg.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Carl Schepler, son of the founder, supervised Irma’s production of its own goods, and it never looked back. The famous Irma girl was created in 1907 – a design by architect Sophus Greiffenberg, who used his daughter Else as a model, although it was later redrawn as a woman.

Greiffenberg was also responsible for the name. Based on the abbreviation of the chain’s margarine manufacturer, Johannes Rasmussen, it was made before the Second World War, and by the time of Schepler’s death in 1942, there were 110 Irma stores.

Coop then took over the chain in 1982, and after record years in 2020 and 2021, its future looked secure. But horrific losses last year sealed its fate.

Source: The Nordic Page

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