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Clas Ohlson to open up to 200 stores in UK

The Local · 30 Aug 2010, 13:00

Published: 30 Aug 2010 13:00 GMT+02:00

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The company currently operates 122 stores in Sweden, Norway, Finland and the UK and plans to open six to 10 new stores in the UK in the 2010 to 2011 financial year. In the last two weeks, it has signed three contracts to open stores in Norwich, Cardiff and Doncaster in December.

Separately, more than 900 people applied on Wednesday for just 30 jobs ahead of the November opening of Clas Ohlson's eighth UK store in Dudley, newspaper Express and Star reported last week.

"We can see a time when we would have 200 stores in the UK," Clas Ohlson CEO Klas Balkow told the Daily Telegraph on Saturday. "We've proved in the Nordic nations that this kind of model works and we've been successful. There is a gap in the UK market right now and we think there's an opportunity for us to take that position."

Clas Ohlson plans to open 17 to 22 new stores in the 2010 to 2011 financial year. The company will focus exclusively on opening stores in the UK after it has opened 150 stores in the Nordic countries.

Similar to IKEA, Clas Ohlson was founded in a rural village called Insjön in central Sweden's Dalarna in 1918 as a mail order company. Opening its first shop in 1926, it did not open its second location until 1989 in Stockholm, beginning its retail expansion.

Story continues below…

Clas Ohlson is now the largest hardware chain in Sweden with 3,200 employees and distributes 6.2 million mail order catalogues around the world.

The retailer offers a "herring back" promise, giving customers a free jar of pickled herrings in addition to a refund if they find a product they have purchased on sale at a cheaper price elsewhere.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:07 August 30, 2010 by eZee.se
Good for them!

I have shopped more times than I remember at C.O and if ever I had a problem or wanted to give something back (without using it) they always gave me service with a smile.

(Unsolicited good review)

...and I might add the total opposite of an Apple store with their moronic "genius" bar.

Honestly, if it always "just works" then why do they need a "genius bar"? I solved my own problem there and taught the people who were supposed to help me how its done.

But... my irritation has taken me off topic, just one thing left to say:

Good luck C.O!
15:17 August 30, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Clas Ohlson's and Jula's sells basically junk. I'm still shocked why people frequent these craphouses for "home improvement" supplies. Only thing worthwhile I bought there was a Bahco Mexican Speedwrench.
21:32 August 30, 2010 by dwb5555

They do sale junk and the reason people go there is because there is no other options. If you live outside the city or have a car then there are some places you can go however I have not been that impress with those places either.
09:09 August 31, 2010 by richardbw
Irrespective of their 'junk', it sounds like they have a good business model, I might apply for a job!
13:46 August 31, 2010 by Gletta
If they sold pick n mix they could call themselves Woolworths
16:15 August 31, 2010 by An08drew
I used Ohlson's two shops in Helsingborg last week. Their range of products is wide, but also somewhat specialised in terms of kitchen-ware and practical tools. Some of their ranges are well respected international brands - some of which are not readily available 'off the shelf' in many other stores. Their selection of tooling exhibits a closer link with with a sharper 'can-do' / survival mentality than exhibited in some other European countries. Where else on the Swedish / European high street are you going to find a range of ball bearing races or sophisticated sharpening equipment.

Blog contributors would do well to look more carefully at both the stores and the catalogue. This company has a great deal to offer...or why else would they have built an enormous distribution centre in the middle of the Swedish countryside last year?!
15:45 September 1, 2010 by Great Scott
To open 200 shops in the UK means that they must have good faith in the economy.
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