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A crisis for organic supermarkets in Switzerland?

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Large organic stores seem to be in a crisis in Switzerland. Yardo in St. Gallen and Rägeboge in Winterthur had to release some employees. Does that prove the concept doesn’t work in Switzerland? The idea to have supermarkets for organic products in the country has been looked at critically from the very beginning. As if to prove the concept is not working, two stores are fighting for their survival after a short time.


Yardo (picture on the left) in St. Gallen was opened in February, aiming to have thirteen branches all over Switzerland. In September, two employees had to be released. The manager Mr. Keel stated that he misinterpreted the situation – his original thought was that customers would need more service. He sees the large distributors as his main competitors, but does not think his original plan is in danger.


The larger one is Rägeboge (picture on the right). Developed from two subsidies which had existed for 20 years, the stores joined and added a coffee shop as well as a drug store a year ago. But costs were too high, turnovers to small and investments too expensive. For the past three months, the store had to go through major problems, including the release of some employees. The situation seems stabile now - but to break even, the company will need another 3 or 4 years and one million Swiss Francs.


For the "Rägeboge"-manager Ms. Pellerin, Migros or Coop cannot be seen as competitors, since “organic” to her is of a different quality – the relationships with producers are regional, high emphasis is put on seasonal products and fair prices and products are not flown in.


Organic supermarkets, however, seem to be a working concept in Europe. The organic supermarket chain Basic has just opened their eightteenth store in Germany. Shortly before, Basic expanded into Austria.


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