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Migros reverses decline

The country's biggest retailer, Migros, increased its turnover by 2 per cent in 1999 to SFr18.7 billion. Group profit was up more than 50 per cent to SFr613 million, due mainly to special circumstances such as the sale of the insurance company, Secu

The orange giant is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and now has a finger in many pies other than the retail business, such as banking and the travel industry. The company is hoping the anniversary year could bring better results.

"The beginning of the year has seen an excellent performance," said the chairman of the Migros board, Peter Everts. "Migros' classic retail business turnover is up 3.5 per cent, with Globus up 4.4 per cent and other parts of the group such as ex-Libris up more than seven per cent."

The retail industry in Switzerland is set for a major shake-up in the next few years should the country come out in favour of the bilateral accords with the European Union in a referendum later this month.

Prices are expected to fall towards the European average as increased foreign competition flows into the country. But Migros says it is taking positive steps to meet future challenges.

"In our core business we are repositioning our classic retail outlets to make them fresher and to increase the space for our customers," says Everts. "We are trying to adapt to actual customer demands and give them more than they expect."

by Michael Hollingdale

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