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Unimarkt branches to transition into franchises

The UNI Group, comprised of Unimarkt Handelsgesellschaft, UNIWholesale, and UNILogistik, faced significant challenges in the past year as their online shops were unprofitable and had to be shut down. Following a Constitutional Court ruling on opening hours, the 17 UNIBox locations are being reviewed along with a plan to convert all Unimarkt branches to franchises by 2024/25. Currently, 65 of the 124 locations are managed by franchise partners.

Despite these challenges, the UNI 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

By Samantha Jones

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