Sportringen has attracted many Swedish Team Sportia merchants lately. Now Team Sportia/Sportia owner SGN get them back by aquring a 50 percent stake in Sportringen.
SGN CEO and Team Sportia Chairman Sam Nieminen says the two brands and concepts will not merge.
At the same time, Team Sportia CEO Anders Edvardsson is resigning.
Winter 2014, Finnish SGN Group entered Sweden as principal shareholder in Sweden’s third largest sports chain Team Sportia. This happened as many Team Sportia franchisees left the chain for Sportringen to be more independent.
A year later, SGN increases it’s presence in the Swedish market by acquiring a 50 percent stake in Sportringen with nearly 170 affiliated stores and estimated sales in 2015 of 1.3 billion SEK.
SGN Group, one of the leading players in the Finnish sports and leisure equipment through the Sportia-chain, says the expanded constellation is a deal that will redraw the map in Sweden’s sports market. Seller of the shares is Sportringen Holding AB.
”It’s in our DNA to work with private dealers and we truly believe in the power of the private trade. By stepping in as owners of Sportringen we further strengthen the ability of the privately-owned sports stores to compete against the big centralized competitors,” says Sam Nieminen, CEO of SGN Group.
Sportringen currently with 170 affiliated stores around Sweden has gone from a turnover of SEK 650 million to an estimated turnover for 2015 of 1.3 billion in a short time. It makes Sportringen the fastest growing sports retail chain in the country and the largest in terms of number of stores.
The critics against Team Sportia has been a too centralized concept that is not optimal to the local markets. Sam Nieminen is careful to point out that in the present situation there are no plans to merge the concepts into one.
”Sportringen and TeamSportia have many similarities when it comes to values as high skills, good service and a strength in hardware. Meanwhile, the layouts for merchants quite different, something we see as an asset. We estimate that in the present situation there is a need for different concepts within the independent sporting goods and want to ensure that private property remains an attractive alternative to central planning in the future to the benefit of both concepts.
The current management of Sportringen continues to operate as usual. The Board will be composed of two members from SGN Group and three from Sportringen.
”It will be business as usual, with completely separate management for Sportringen and TeamSportia. But of course we will be able to find many positive synergies in the long term for the group’s three chains Sportia Finland, Sportringen AB and TeamSportia AB. We are becoming a bigger player, with larger volumes, which in turn allows us to increase the profitability of the stores,” continues Sam Nieminen.
But the management will change in Team Sportia. CEO Anders Edvardsson has decided to resign before Christmas. Acting CEO of TeamSportia is current Vice President Richard Westerlund.
”Anders has weekly commuted for a long time and I fully understand that this in the end could not go together. I thank Anders for a very good job under extremely difficult circumstances and really hope that we will meet after this break,” says Sam Nieminen who is also the Chairman of TeamSportia.
Anders Edvardsson says he has now completed its main mission and will be proud to pass the torch to a future substitute.
”I can hardly think of a better opportunity. When I took office in 2013, I did it with a clear mission, to clear up the nearest hopeless economic situation that prevailed then. The task we have succeeded wonderfully with which I am both happy and incredibly proud of. Now TeamSportia goes into a new phase, with a stable economy and a very positive momentum, so it feels a bit like my mission is completed,” says Anders Edvardsson
In a statement, Team Sportia says Anders Edvardsson took the decision to quit as CEO of TeamSportia took already this summer. In consultation with Sam Nieminen he has, however, decided to wait with the announcement in anticipation of SGN Group would buy 50 percentof the industry colleague Sportringen to not disrupt the negotiations.
”Anders has acted very professionally in this regard and I am grateful that we have been able to stay on this for so long. Now is the deal with Sportringen accomplished, which we are very happy with, so now it is high time that the organization may have access to Anders decision,” said Sam Nieminen.
Efforts to find a permanent replacement has already begun.