Expert-CEO: We have no plans for Sweden

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Expert is gathering its forces – for the battle against Elkjøp Group in Denmark, Norway and Finland.

But Expert CEO, Lars Christensen, have no future plans for Sweden, and says a takeover of Media Markt-stores would be out of question.

”Their stores are too expensive. We prefer  smaller – but much better stores”, he tells ScandinavianRetail.com

The recent year the Expert Group in the Nordics has partly drained the Elkjøp Group on competence and experience. Several former Country managers and even the former Group CEO of Elkjøp, Ronny Blomseth, is now a part of Expert instead. And in Denmark, the Country manager Jesper Boysen was followed by 25 colleagues when he switched from Elgiganten  to Expert.

It’s time for the next battle in Nordic consumer electronics.

”We put a lot of efforts in Denmark right now, but also in Finland”, says Group CEO Lars Christensen.

He says Expert now has a  functioning concept in Norway and that Expert now will target Elkjøp/Elgiganten/Gigantti on all markets.

”But we have to develop Denmark, Norway and Finland before we think of Sweden.”

The recent split in Finland where the main part of the independent Expert-fraction left the brand does not mean  there will be a strategy of focusing on bigger stores only in Denmark.

”We have two very strong brands in Denmark, Expert and Punkt1 which both will there in the future. But beside of that we have to build bigger stores with the same size as we have in Norway. That is the strategy in Denmark right now.”

How similar is your new logistic solution to Elkjøp’s supply-model ?

”The warehouse in Sweden is necessary since Expert is one big model in the Nordic –  not a model in Finland, not a model in Norway and not a model in Denmark. Before we can have that model it is necessary to have one big warehouse.”

”But we have made our own model, it’s not en Elgiganten-model. We have made en Expert business-model. Of course there are some similarities but we will be strong in our own areas. But I can’t tell you everything about it.”

With a warehouse in Sweden, but all stores in surrounding countries. It is pretty obvious that you one day will try a comeback in Sweden…?

”Yes it is haha, but that is not the reason why we put it in Sweden. The reason is that Sweden is the centre of the Nordic, and the logistic centre to supply Norway, Finland and Denmark.”

So how many years will it take before you start thinking about Sweden?

”I think of Sweden every day, but I can’t tell you when we are going back. We have no plans, we have no discussion, we have nothing like that right now. But of course, Sweden should be a part of Expert too.

But it’s not the market situation in Sweden that needs to change first, according to Lars Christensen.

”No, I have to develop our business model in Norway, Denmark and Finland first before we go to Sweden. So we concentrate on where we are. And when we are where we want to be – we will think about Sweden.”

The sizes of the stores to open in Denmark are in the the interval 1,000-1,500-2,000 square meters – in the same size as Norwegian Expert. In Sweden, Elgiganten’s Mega-stores are twice that size and Media Markt’s stores even bigger. Last year, Lars Christensen denied that taking over the bleeding Media Markt-stores would be an option. That has not changed.

”That is not a question. They are too big and too expensive – we prefer smaller, but much better stores”, Lars Christensen says before entering a meeting in Finland.