A successful year with favourable growth and profitability

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Axfood concludes an eventful and historic year with a strong fourth quarter where growth was higher than the market and earnings improved. The Group’s concepts strengthen their market positions, and in addition major structural changes are being carried out that will create the prerequisites for long-term, profitable and sustainable growth.

President and CEO Klas Balkow’s comments on the year-end report for 2021:

“The intense year of 2021 concluded with a strong fourth quarter. Our growth in store sales of 3.1% meant we grew faster than the market, and we also posted improved earnings and an operating margin of 4.3%.”

“As we look back on a historic year characterised by a high pace of development, we can now say that 2021 was probably the most eventful year in Axfood’s history. We have operated during a pandemic that has challenged with new customer behaviour and purchasing patterns, during which our main focus has been the well-being of our employees and customers. At the same time, we have made comprehensive investments in our future logistics structure and digital development, and acquired the wholesale business Bergendahls Food and a minority stake in the hypermarket chain City Gross. In December, we announced another important strategic deal, the partnership with Mathem, which is currently being examined by the Swedish Competition Authority. It is gratifying to finish what has perhaps been the most intense and exceptional year for Axfood to date with a strong year-end report. A year in which we took major and important steps for the continued development of our Group.”

Fourth quarter summary

  • On 1 October, the acquisition of Bergendahl Food AB and a minority stake of 9.9% in City Gross Sverige AB was completed.
  • Net sales increased 25.1% to SEK 17,062 m (13,663). Net sales excluding Bergendahls Food increased 5.6%.
  • Store sales for the Axfood Group totalled SEK 12,424 m (12,047), an increase of 3.1%.
  • Operating profit amounted to SEK 739 m (566) and included items affecting comparability of SEK 86 m. The operating margin was 4.3% (4.1). Adjusted operating profit amounted to SEK 653 m (566), an increase of 15.5%. The adjusted operating margin was 3.8% (4.1).
  • Net profit for the period amounted to SEK 608 m (409) and earnings per share before dilution to SEK 2.92 (2.02).
  • Axfood entered into an agreement for a strategic partnership with Mathem, becoming a new co-owner of the company with a shareholding of 16.5%, by divesting Mat.se in exchange for shares in Mathem. Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by the Swedish Competition Authority.
  • Raised profitability target of a long-term operating margin of at least 4.5% (previously at least 4.0%).

Summary January–December

  • Net sales totalled SEK 57,891 m (53,696), an increase of 7.8%. Net sales excluding Bergendahls Food increased 2.8%.
  • Store sales for the Axfood Group totalled SEK 47,835 m (46,954), an increase of 1.9%.
  • Operating profit amounted to SEK 2,704 m (2,510). The operating margin was 4.7% (4.7). Adjusted operating profit amounted to SEK 2,690 m (2,510), an increase of 7.2%. The adjusted operating margin was 4.6% (4.7).
  • Net profit for the period amounted to SEK 2,094 m (1,862) and earnings per share before dilution to SEK 10.28 (9.12).

Significant events after the balance sheet date

  • The Board of Directors proposes an increased dividend of SEK 7.75 per share (7.50). The dividend is split into two payments, SEK 4.00 per share in March 2022 and SEK 3.75 per share in September 2022.

Investments and store establishments 2022

  • Axfood’s investments in 2022 are expected to amount to between SEK 2,600 and 2,700 m, excluding acquisitions and right-of-use assets.
  • During 2022, Axfood plans to establish 8-13 new stores.

Axfood will present the year-end report 2021 in a conference call at 9.30 a.m. (CET) today.
The report will be presented by Klas Balkow, President and CEO, and Anders Lexmon, CFO.
To follow the presentation, visit
www.axfood.com or ring: Sweden: +46 8 505 583 74, UK: +44 333 300 9267, USA: +1 646 722 4904

For further information, please contact:
Alexander Bergendorf, Head of Investor Relations, Axfood AB, tel +46 730 49 18 44

The information herein is such that Axfood AB (publ) is required to make public in accordance with the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Securities Market Act. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person listed above, at 7 a.m. CET on 3 February 2022.

This document is an English translation of the Swedish original. In the event of any discrepancies, the Swedish version shall govern.


Axfood aspires to be the leader in good and sustainable food. Our family of companies includes the store chains Willys and Hemköp as well as Tempo and Handlar’n. B2B sales are handled through Snabbgross, and our support company Dagab is responsible for the Group’s product development, purchasing and logistics. The Axfood family also includes Mat.se, Middagsfrid and Urban Deli as well as the partly owned companies Apohem, Eurocash and City Gross. Together the Group has more than 12,000 employees and sales of approximately SEK 58 bn. Axfood has been listed on Nasdaq Stockholm since 1997, and the principal owner is Axel Johnson AB. Read more at www.axfood.com.