The main players are keeping their cards close to their chest, but talk of acquisition activity is currently rife in the Nordic food retail sector, with persistent speculation about possible takeovers and new alliances in Sweden and Norway. The combined value of the Nordic markets is nearly SKr500bn and the region's 20 million customers are now within reach of most of the major retailers through their increasingly efficient pan-Nordic distribution networks and strong purchasing logistics. A year ago, the food retail sector in these countries seemed relatively competitive, judging both from the main operators' relative size, market share and financial results. Over the last six months or so, however, the Nordic retail food market has been dramatically reshaped and the main players are readying themselves for further action. Several of them are also thought to have an eye to the hitherto maiden Baltic markets of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. "Big is beautiful" seems to be the ruling motto of the Nordic food retail industry.