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Clas Ohlson opens three stores in a week

Swedish retailers ends 2010 on a high with stores in Cardiff, Norwich and Doncaster but scales down expansion plans for next year due to economic climate.

The new openings include Clas Ohlson's first venture into Wales and take its total number of UK stores to 11. The Cardiff store opened in St David's on December 8, the Norwich store in Chapelfield shopping centre on December 9 and the final opening took place in the Frenchgate Centre in Doncaster on December 10.

Meanwhile, Clas Ohlson has announced plans to open a further four to six stores in the UK next year - a move which UK md Mark Gregory says demonstrates the retailer's "long-term ambition to be a national brand in the UK".

However, Clas Ohlson has reined in its expansion plans slightly for 2011, with its original intention having been to open six to 10 outlets in the UK over the course of the year.

In its latest interim report for the six months to October 31, the retailer explained; "During the second quarter, the UK economy was strained by fiscal cutbacks designed to improve government finances. The weaker trend in the UK retail sector is presenting continued opportunities for contracting attractive locations for new stores. Clas Ohlson is evaluating potential new locations carefully and is balancing the rate of expansion to match the prevailing market conditions."

Total sales for the company were up 4% for the 26-week period, while operating profit was down 18% to 234m Swedish krona (around £22m).

Clas Ohlson emphasises that the customer response to the stores in the UK market is positive, with the number of visitors and customers in the British outlets, exceeding the group average.

The retailer created the usual buzz around its latest openings, with special opening day offers, attracting queues of people, a £100 voucher for the first customer at each new store and a series of DIY demos. The demos focused on showing customers how to use an electric drill safely, with the featured Ryobi product on offer at £49.99, down from £109.99.

Source :

15 December 2010
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