Unimarkt branches to transition into franchises

The UNI Group, comprising Unimarkt Handelsgesellschaft, UNIWholesale, and UNILogistik, faced significant challenges in the past year due to unprofitable online shops that had to be closed. Following a Constitutional Court ruling on opening times, the 17 UNIBox locations are being reviewed along with plans to convert all Unimarkt branches into franchises by 2024/25. Currently, 65 of the 124 locations are managed by franchise partners.

Despite these challenges, the UNI Group achieved impressive sales of approximately 474 million euros in the 2023/24 financial year, representing a 6% increase from the previous year. Owner and managing director Andreas Haider acknowledged the difficulties faced by the group in a press release. The concept of autonomous UNIBoxes failed due to profitability issues after a VfGH ruling on opening hours. However, knowledge gained from these boxes is being used in the Nah&Frisch hybrid markets within the UNI Group. At the end of the financial year, there were 23 Nah&Frisch hybrid locations with plans to expand by 16 more in the next financial year. Haider believes that this hybrid supermarket concept is crucial for future success as it helps address challenges in finding employees.

The UNI Group also includes other businesses such as UNIWholesale and UNILogistik as well as Unimarkt Handels GmbH and a 50% stake in convenience supplier unik (formerly Lekkerland). The group had around 3,100 employees at the end of the financial year, with most based at headquarters and company branches and logistics. Moving forward, they plan to expand their presence with more Nah&Frisch hybrid locations and operated Unimarkt branches.

Overall, despite facing challenges in recent years, it’s clear that The UNI Group has found ways to adapt and continue growing their business through innovation such as exploring new concepts like hybrid markets and seeking partnerships with other companies such as unik (formerly Lekkerland)

By Riley Johnson

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