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Clas Ohlson makes Dubai debut

A Scandinavian home accessories and hardware brand that is not Ikea? The Swedish operator of the ‘Clas Ohlson’ chain of stores and its regional franchisee, SYH Retail, wants to ram home the point that there is.

The first outlet in the Middle East opens at Mirdif City Centre and other likely locations are under close scrutiny. One more store could open in the region this year, and the target is go in for around 20 locations over a five-year period based on the initial response.

The Dubai store will carry the same stock levels as those in Europe, thus totalling nearly 9,000 products, of which around 2,000 would be “locally adjusted to suit certain needs in the region”. Products on offer will range across five categories — home, leisure, electrical, multimedia and hardware. By carrying an inventory of leisure and multimedia products, the company believes the one-stop shop tag can come in real handy connecting with future shoppers.

Currently, Clas Ohlson operates in four European markets; apart from Sweden, it has a presence in Norway, Finland and the UK. It will be setting up one or two stores in the northern part of Germany next year.

“Our stores are located in shopping centres with high traffic or on the high street,” said Klas Balkow, president and CEO of Clas Ohlson, which is listed on the Nasdaq OMX Nordic Exchange and has sales of 6.7 billion kronor. “We use different store formats, including different store sizes, depending on the location. We offer convenience by offering most things customers need to solve their practical problems of everyday life in one place.

“Obviously, we will invest in marketing in order to build the Clas Ohlson brand in this region. I am sure the Dubai consumer will realise that we, with our products and solutions, can help solve the practical problems of everyday life.”

SYH Retail is part of the Kuwait headquartered Al Homaizi Group. The franchise rights for Clas Ohlson extends to the GCC markets.

“The Clas Ohlson franchise partnership with SYH Retail is a fresh start, growing new success stories for the future,” said Seda Bayarlar, managing director at SYH Retail. “Our expansion plans including store location and sizes will be based on feasibility studies.
“Being a new concept in the region, Clas Ohlson solutions for the first time will be offered as a one-stop shop, making shopping convenient and fun. The ‘everything under one roof’ for product categories is also our strong positioning statement.”

Source : Manoj Nair - Gulf News

28 April 2014
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