Clas Ohlson in UK drive

Swedish DIY chain Clas Ohlson has announced pre-tax profits for the last three quarters of 444 million kronor, up from 387 million in the same period a year previously.

Sales were up to 2.8 billion kronor from 2.3 billion, and sales for February were up 18 percent.

The company used the release of the results to announce plans to open stores in Britain. The company said it would open its first 2-4 stores in 2008 and 2009, and also aimed to open more stores in its existing markets in the Nordic region.

The company’s deputy chief executive Lars Wallén said that the British market would suit Clas Ohlson’s products and that the UK was similar in many ways to Scandinavia. But Wallén said it would take many years to become profitable in Britain.

“It took three years in Finland, and one might expect it to take a little longer in the UK.”

The first 2-4 stores would be followed by more, “rather depending on how successful we are.”

The company showed smaller profit margins for the third quarter, something Wallén attributed to the strength of the dollar.

TT/The Local