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ONOFF staff left reeling after bankruptcy: union

TT/Rebecca Martin · 12 Jul 2011, 16:35

Published: 12 Jul 2011 16:35 GMT+02:00

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“The employees are shocked and aghast. It is a great loss,” said union representative Charlotte Hall, to news agency TT.

Hall, who was on vacation when she received word of the bankruptcy, said she felt devastated by the news.

“My first thought was ‘my god, what will happen to all the employees? What happens now?’, ” she said.

The competition, German owned electronics chain Media Markt, say that they are planning to expand further in Sweden.

“We are opening four new stores in Sweden this year and we will continue like this for another few years,” Johan Rosenblom, Swedish Media Markt’s marketing director told TT.

Although he thinks it is sad that the ONOFF staff will be laid off, Rosenblom does not feel guilty that the chain is forced to close down,

“Guilty of good competition? I don’t know about that. We think we do a good job on the market”, he said.

Tommy Tillgren, vice chairman of the Swedish trade union Handels thinks that ONOFF’s bankruptcy is “very tragic” for the firm’s employees. But he is hoping that some of the stores will be bought up and taken over by the chain’s competitors.

“There are always actors that are interested in some parts of the business at least. But whatever happens, quite a few will probably lose their jobs,” he said.

According to Tillgren, the last few years have been marked by stiff competition and a flooded market. Many have feared that there is a chain too many, according to Tillgren.

“Whether it is healthy is a bit difficult to say, I think. That’s the way the market works - if your resources run out – you are out of the game,” he said.

Story continues below…

And according to Charlotte Hall, neither the union nor the staff had had any indications that ONOFF was heading for bankruptcy.

“Strings have been tightened and some changes have been made in the company structure recently but nothing that would have made us believe we were heading this way, “ said Hall to TT.

ONOFF reported a loss of 152 million kronor ($23 million) last year, according to business and trade newspaper Dagens Industri. The year before the company reported losses of 44 million kronor.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:03 July 12, 2011 by Rick Methven
Who will be next, SIBA?
20:38 July 12, 2011 by Mb 65
Siba has bought Net o Net. The union was shocked. They cause a lot of these companies problems, and have forced companies to close in the past. They are too strong in Sweden.
21:00 July 12, 2011 by BBKING
My God! not my god.
07:30 July 13, 2011 by ooh456
Anyone surprised that On/Off failed is not heavily into reality. The store is/was awful and people eventually gravitate towards better options.
09:27 July 13, 2011 by Grävling
This is a real shame, however I do hope this is not a trend that starts happening. I am not sure why it is like this in Sweden, but allot of the prices are way higher for many things. Plumbing fittings are on average 110 SEK, when you can buy 10 for half the price in the UK, Screws are 10 times the price too?

This is dangerous as you can import all these things from other countries in mass and sell them on for cheaper?
11:31 July 13, 2011 by Mb 65
Have you seen the difference in car prices. In the UK a fully loaded Skoda Yety is £25,000 with a 5 year guarantee. Sweden 300,000kr ( £30,000 with only a 2 year guarantee.
14:40 July 13, 2011 by sarcastrix
I concur with both Grävling and Mb 65; everything is vastly over priced here. I buy most large purchases (gadgets, kids toys, clothes) in the UK and get shipped over, UPS & DHL only charge 300:- for a 30kg box :)

I've just spec'd up a new Range Rover. In Sweden it is 556 110:- and for the exact same LHD model in the UK it 's 417 850:- (inc tax but before discounts) - Go figure!
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