Switzerland’s Migros cooperatives has revealed plans to expand its new organic store concept Alnatura-Migros by around 20-30 new stores in Switzerland in partnership with German organic retailer Alnatura, and source more brands direct from other countries.

CEO Herbert Bolliger said the new organic markets will be mainly located in larger Swiss cities such as Zurich or Geneva and that he sees great potential for growth of organic products.

The Swiss co-operative retailer grew organic sales by 9% year-on-year in 2012 to CHF 474million and planned to grow its organic sales by accelerating store openings under its Alnatura-Migros organic banner and offering Alnatura own label products in conventional supermarkets, which are currently offered in three Zurich branches.

Mr Bolliger said that in the Migros stores, thanks to the introduction of Alnatura products, sales have approximately doubled, but that organic products will remain a niche market.

Stores offer about 5,000 products consisting of its own brands Alnatura private labels, Migros, bio private labels and other assortments such as health and beauty, and fruit and vegetables which have been organically farmed.

In a new direction for Migros, Mr Bolliger also announced a plan to offer cheaper branded goods directly from abroad instead of through official importers and take advantage of lower prices.

In an interview with newspaper ‘NZZ am Sonntag’, Bolliger asked for support for this policy. “A change in purchasing would be a positive move for consumer interests,” he said. “However, Promarca, the association of brand product suppliers, will soon not be happy with a waiver of exclusive national distribution rights.”

Migros opened its first concept organic market store in late August 2012 in partnership with Alnatura. Alnatura-Migros organic market is based on the successful concept in Germany, Alnatura the Super Natural Markets. The pilot store is located in Zurich-Höngg.