Yet another huge chain of Swedish retail stores looks set to makes its mark on the UK DIY and hardware sector. Clas Ohlson already has 11 UK stores but has announced that it intends to build many more.
The chain, which started in a small Swedish village has a huge reputation in Sweden where its eclectic mix of products keeps customers coming back for more.
They sell hardware, but also have multimedia products on their shelves. The store is so loved in the country that many thousands of shareholders visit the store for the AGM and stay over in their motor-homes. It is described as a fun event.
The store currently has 120 outlets in Norway, Finland and Sweden and as the chief executive Klas Balkow points out, the UK market is huge and he sees plenty of potential for hundreds of stores here. The company is planning six new stores each year, although this has been scaled back from the ten stores which were part of the original plan. Balkow describes it as a long term commitment.
The chief executive has also said that once the UK outlets are established, a new distribution centre will also be built. A UK based website is in the process of being built and should be launched in the second half of this year.