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HUNGER GAMES: Svalbardbutikken expansion, proposed Rema 1000 may see face-to-face concrete turf war

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Longyearbyen’s only major supermarket is expected to get a major facelift and expansion beginning next year – and if a potential competitor has its way it may be tougher for folks to see those changes.

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An sketch of a proposed Rema 1000 grocery store places it adjacent to Lompensenteret. Image courtesy of HS Arealplan.

A potential market war between two of Norway’s largest grocery chains may be in the works as Svalbarbutikken is planning an upgrade beginning next summer and Rema 1000 is hoping to build a competing store – and place in the parking lot directly in front of Svalbardbutikken.

The upgrade at Svalbardbuttikken will expand the store’s space by about a third, Ronny Strømnes, Coop Svalbard’s strategic director, told Svalbardposten. The storefront facing the pedestrian sidewalk will feature more glass, while priorities for interior expansion besides grovery space include perfume, gifts and souvenirs.

“The reason for the development is that Svalbardbutikken needs more space to operate effectively for customers and employees,” Frigg Jørgensen, Coop Svalbard’s board chairperson, wrote this in August of last year: “The development is meant to meet many needs, not least space in the shop, better working conditions and better selection. Of the most urgent needs, however, is the replacement of refrigeration and freezing facilities.”

It is not known yet if the Nordpolet retail alcohol store will have a seperate entrance. Rema 1000 officials and the owners of Lompensenteret argue Svalbardbutikken has an unfair competittive advantage since people buying alcohol have to enter the supermarket to do so.

Rema 1000 is proposing a store with 1,159-square-meter of floor space divided between two or three stories. The company is seeking to build the store adjacent to Lompensenteret, taking up of the existing parking lot for the shopping center and Svalbardbutikken.

Members of the city’s Technical Committee in February unanimously rejected Rema 1000’s original proposal to use the parking lot for store space, adding the company or other parties would need to submit a detailed plan for the affected area. Rema 1000’s current proposal asserts there would be room for 40 to 45 cars, with up to 70 possible in theory..

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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