Unimarkt branches to transition into franchises

Turning Challenges into Opportunities: The UNI Group’s 6% Increase in Sales Despite Closures and Constitutional Court Rulings

The UNI Group faced significant challenges in the past year as their online shops were not profitable and had to be closed. Following a Constitutional Court ruling on opening times, the 17 UNIBox locations are being reviewed along with a plan to convert all Unimarkt branches to franchises by 2024/25. Despite these challenges, the group achieved sales of approximately 474 million euros in the 2023/24 financial year, which represented 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, which aimed to serve areas without local suppliers, failed due to profitability issues after the VfGH ruling on opening hours. However, the knowledge gained from the UNIBoxes is being utilized 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 the hybrid supermarket concept is the future as it helps offset challenges in finding employees.

The UNI Group includes UNIWholesale, UNILogistik, Unimarkt Handels GmbH, and a 50% stake in the convenience supplier unik (formerly Lekkerland). The group had around 3,100 employees in the 2023/24 financial year, with most of them based at headquarters, company branches, and logistics. The UNI Group is also planning to expand its presence with more Nah&Frisch hybrid locations and operated Unimarkt branches.

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