Team Sportia lose a significant part of its Stockholm market next year when four out of ten shops converts to Sportringen.
Thomas Friis operates two of them, including the strategic position in Kungens Kurva.
“We think we have better opportunities to adapt our stores to the local market,” he says.
Until 31 July next year, Thomas Friis’ stores are still a part of Team Sportia.
“We will be one hundred percent focused as Team Sportia until then. Then a new journey begins, ” says Thomas Friis.
He has been a Team Sportia merchant since 1994 and his ownership group peaked when operating five stores. Then and now, he noted significant differences between the stores – and it has complied with the mindset.
“With Sportringen concept, we have more opportunities to influence the business locally and it is interesting. We feel it is most important for us to get the best conditions to fight in our local market and that resources should be controlled locally. One can say that there is a dividing line where Team Sportia – and Intersport – has chosen a stronger central control than Sportringen.
For us, ‘All business is local’ is an expression that does not go away. ”
He is careful to point out that there is no disagreement behind the change. The two shops he operates today, at Heron City in Kungens Kurva and in Tyresö, are both profitable on a Stockholm market where many today are struggling with numbers.
“Internally, we have used the term ‘Business as usual – only better’. The companies have been successful, but we’ve been fighting a lot for it. You have to take the fight on the local market and we feel we have better opportunities with the Sportringen concept. It has been the biggest reason why we make this shift.
He sees a positive trend in Sportringen and describes them as “forward leaning”, offensive and cost effective.
“We have great respect for those who own Sportringen centrally. They are very talented and do very good business. We believe that we can also learn from their business. They are a bit of underdogs who’s worked in silence preparing to become more offensive. They bring some pioneer spirit.”
”We also believe in developing the brand Sportringen. It is a conclusion that all the stores have come up with. It will be a strengthening of the brand.”
Sportringen is not on the Stockholm market today, which Thomas Friis sees as a great advantage to influence what the customer will think of the brand.
“If we do this well, the customer will think that it is good, if we make it bad, we have no one else to blame.”
Have the ownership changes in Team Sportia played any role in the decision?
“It’s not the large piece in this . This has spun around in my head for a long time and is not a decision you take in a couple of weeks, ” says Thomas Friis and returns several times to allocating resources locally and to do things better and advance their positions.
In his ownership group is also a Team Sportia-affiliated company which specializes in club- sales. Its future is not yet clear.
The competitive situation is still very strong – especially in Kungens Kurva where all chains have invested heavily.
“But we still feel that the essence of what we do – that people think more about their well-being – just grows and we think that it is very positive with our industry. So even if it is tough, we feel that we are in an industry that is growing, and it’s the same on the bicycle side. It benefits us and is fun to be in. ”