Swedish DIY, homewares and electricals retailer Clas Ohlson has laid out plans for a store acquisition drive to create a nationwide chain.
Clas Ohlson UK managing director Mark Gregory said: “Clas Ohlson has 110 stores across Norway, Finland and Sweden, where there is a population of 20 million. The UK has 60 million people, so you can see the opportunity the company sees for the UK.”
Extrapolated across the UK, this equates to about 300 shops. It has seven at present.
Gregory would not comment on exact numbers but said: “Clas Ohlson is in this for the long term. The UK is the first step into expanding on a more pan-European basis. Everyone can see the population size in the UK and the opportunity that provides, but we will take things one step at a time.”
The Swedish parent, listed on the Swedish Stock Exchange, has just begun breaking down its group figures to show performance by territory. In July, the UK notched up sales of Skr16m (£1.4m) up from Skr6m (£520,000) the year before, when the retailer had fewer stores.
Across the group, sales in July came in flat at Skr498m (£43.1m).
Gregory would not comment on UK like-for-likes but said: “We are very encouraged by the start we have made.”
In the UK, Clas Ohlson will open up to 10 stores in its present financial year, which ends in May. It will open a shop in Dudley’s Merry Hill Centre on November 25, and Gregory said there are likely to be “another two or three” in the autumn. The retailer debuted in Croydon at the end of 2008, with what was a new format for the group.
Clas Ohlson, which dubs itself “the really useful shop”, opens in in-town locations on high streets and shopping centres.
Property agent Jones Lang LaSalle acts for the retailer.