Swedish hardware retailer Clas Ohlson has opened its first UK store, dubbing itself a “really useful shop”.

The retailer has opened a 20,000 sq ft store at the Whitgift Centre in Croydon, stocking 10,000 product lines. The store sells everything from homewares, electricals, hardware, DIY, multimedia, bicycle and car accessories to toys and boating equipment.

Clas Ohlson UK managing director Mark Gregory said: “This is a modern hardware store and we think there is nothing like it in the UK.”
He claimed Clas Ohlson’s unique proposition is it offers a mix of products under one roof in a town centre, whereas shoppers usually have to go to out-of-town locations to buy products such as hardware and DIY.

Gregory was bullish about opening in the difficult climate. He said: “Everybody wishes the economy were a little better, but this is a strategic decision on behalf of the business and we intend to grow [in the UK] organically.”

The shop, designed by Stockholm-based consultancy Bas Brand Identity, features a new look for the retailer and uses large product graphics to aid in-store navigation. It also has several terminals where shoppers can search for products and find where they are located in-store.
Gregory said the retailer is seeking stores in shopping malls and city centres, with sites being mooted in Newcastle and Scotland. He said the next shop would open before the end of April next year.

“It’s a matter of chasing the right locations as the properties become available, and the letting market will be better than a year ago,” he said.
Clas Ohlson has a portfolio of 110 stores across Sweden, Norway and Finland.