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Swedish grocers revel in Ramadan profits boost
Swedish food retailers are expecting a record turnover in the weeks to follow, with Muslim fasting month Ramadan beginning on Friday, a festival only bested by Christmas in terms of turnover for Malmö grocers.
“Our turnover definitely increases over Ramadan, even if I can’t give you any exact numbers. But after Christmas this is one of our main holidays,” said Henrik Grahm, of the City Gross supermarket in Rosengård, Malmö, to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).
Nine years ago, when the chain first established itself in the area, the supermarket got it wrong and failed to foresee what products would be sought after, according to Grahm.
“We had no sense for what people wanted. We had purchased a large number of vine leaves that no one wanted while other products sold out at once,” Grahm revealed to the paper.
However, nine years on, the supermarket has learned from previous mistakes and has taken advice from both customers and staff.
“There’s a lot of demand on things like feta cheese, preserves, alcohol-free beer and sweets. And we also try to buy in new brands,” said Grahm to DN.
According to the paper, City Gross also changes its displays ahead of Ramadan, to give the sought after products a more prominent position in the shop – just like they do at Christmas.
And according to Swedish retailing employers' organization Svensk Handel, the total consumption in Sweden over Ramadan totals some 1.3-1.6 billion kronor ($187.4 million – $230.6 million) with an increase of average food costs with 1,700 kronor per person.
The agency has actively been working with educating Swedish retailers about Muslim holidays in order to generate new customer groups and better meet consumer demand, according to DN.
“Before, retailers tended to think ‘they aren’t even eating’ but today most have realized that this is a customer group that has money to spend,” said Meta Troell of Svensk Handel to DN.
She added that despite the daylight hours are spent fasting, those who celebrate Ramadan often have feasts in the evening, with friends and family invited.
Despite Swedish food stores having caught on what an important holiday Ramadan is, Troell said that toy stores and interior decorating shops have been slower on the uptake.
“This is a holiday when you make your home look nice and buy toys for the children – something that shops don’t seem to realize,“ she told the paper.
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