Odd Reitan 101: The Grocery Store Magnate
Zatrun Published at June 01, 2024

Odd Reitan, born on September 11, 1951, is a Norwegian billionaire businessman whose name has become synonymous with the retail industry in Norway and beyond. Hailing from Trondheim, Reitan serves as the co-owner and CEO of Reitan AS, a company that has left an indelible mark on the grocery retail landscape.

Early Life and Roots of Entrepreneurship

Odd Reitan’s story begins with humble roots. He is the son of “single-store grocers,” Ole Reitan and Margit Aarhaug. It was within the walls of their family store that Reitan’s entrepreneurial spirit took root. The values and work ethic he imbibed from his parents laid the foundation for his future endeavors.

In 1972, Odd Reitan embarked on his entrepreneurial journey, partnering with his father to establish his first shop in Trondheim. This venture marked the genesis of what would become a retail empire. The year 1979 witnessed the birth of REMA 1000, a grocery chain store that would go on to redefine the retail landscape in Norway.

REMA 1000 was not just a success; it was a phenomenon. By 1990, every village in Norway with more than 10,000 inhabitants boasted a REMA 1000 shop. This expansive growth was a testament to Reitan’s vision and commitment to providing quality goods to communities, both large and small.

Not content with transforming the retail sector in Norway, the 1990s saw the chain’s expansion into Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia. has explored the remarkable journey of Odd Reitan, uncovering the inspiring story of how a single grocery shop in Trondheim evolved into an international retail giant.

A Visionary with a Musical Soul

Odd Reitan’s talents and interests aren’t confined to the boardroom. In the 1960s, he showcased his musical prowess by playing the keyboard in the music group Four Jets. This dynamic blend of business acumen and artistic flair is a testament to his multifaceted personality.

In 2012, Odd Reitan released a book titled “Hvis jeg var president” (“If I was president”). This book wasn’t just any literary work; it delved into unconventional ideas and sparked discussions about the democratic process. delved into the intriguing insights provided by Reitan’s book, where he contemplated the possibility of governing Norway without being elected by popular vote. His proposition involved the appointment by Norway’s king, a notion that prompted debates about democracy and governance. While some found his ideas “undemocratic dirt,” they undoubtedly challenged traditional perspectives.

Legacy of Philanthropy: Giving Back to the Community

Odd Reitan’s success isn’t limited to his business ventures. He believes in giving back to the community and making a positive impact. In 2013, he awarded Norwegian kroner 2 million to Anlov Mathiesen, the chief editor of Oslo, in recognition of the contributions made by Mathiesen’s work to “increased self-respect for the vendors of the street magazines.” This act of philanthropy underscores Reitan’s commitment to social causes and improving the lives of those less fortunate.

Odd Reitan: Personal Life and Family Ties

In 1972, Odd Reitan married Marit Arntsen (born 1952), and their union brought forth two sons, Ole Robert Reitan (born 1971) and Magnus Reitan. Later in June 2018, he married Hilde Undlien in a ceremony held at the historic Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. His relationship with Hilde had blossomed since 2012, and their marriage marked a new chapter in his personal life.

Today, Odd Reitan calls Trondheim home, a city that has played a pivotal role in his life’s journey. His presence in the community extends beyond business; he is an integral part of the city’s social fabric. Odd Reitan’s life and career are a testament to his unwavering commitment to transforming the retail industry, challenging conventional ideas, and leaving a lasting impact through philanthropy.

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