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Sweden's booming economy and fashion-hungry population are enticing more and more international brands to open stores in Stockholm, as foreign investment continues to drive the Swedish retail market.

A small number of large chains, like H&M, continue to dominate, but a lot of new international retailers have opened in prime locations in Stockholm throughout this year and last.

"Sweden has traditionally been dominated by domestic brands, however, in recent years dynamic new names have entered the market," said Håkan Pehrsson, head of asset management and retail at real estate service firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

"Spanish retailer Desigual has opened several stores and Hollister will open its second store in Stockholm by the end of the year, having only arrived in Sweden in the summer of 2011. There is also increasing interest from a number of new international luxury retail brands.”

Other brands entering Stockholm include Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo, cosmetics and makeup giant Sephora, the Spanish footwear chain Camper, French sports company Decathlon, clothing chain Superdry and fashion giant Polo Ralph Lauren.

Spanish casual clothing brand Desigual now has nine shops in Sweden, including four recently opened in Stockholm. Entrepreneur Christer Wallin, who is responsible for the brand in Sweden, said the line of attack is part of a rapid global expansion.

"We've set up [the stores in Sweden] over one year. We will now evaluate them and go a little calmer before we raise the tempo again," he told The Swedish Wire.

Last month the world’s largest sports retailer, Decathlon, opened its first Scandinavian store in Stockholm, marking the beginning of its Nordic expansion. Guido Monferrini, country manager of Sweden for Decathlon, said in a statement that he's delighted to finally open its first store in Stockholm.

"It is a great, stable market for retailers and a strategic investment for us. We regard this as the natural starting point for an expansion in the region", he said.

Sweden's strong economic performance helps explain the influx of new brands. The economy grew 5.7 percent last year, compared to the EU average of 1.8 percent.

Sweden is also ranked as the world’s sixth richest country in terms of average wealth per adult, overtaking countries such as the United States, China and Japan.

Susann Hellström, Business Development Manager at Stockholm Business region, explained that Swedes spend relatively more of their disposable income on clothes and shopping compared to other westerners.

Indeed, Swedish retail property transactions reached 8.5 billion kronor ($1.2 billion) in the first half of 2011, an increase of 165 percent compared to the same period last year, according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s latest Swedish Retail Market Survey.

Of these transactions, 94 percent involved an international vendor or purchaser, up from 70 percent in 2010 and 30 percent in 2009.

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This article was published in collaboration between Stockholm Business Region and The Swedish Wire.

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Last Updated (Monday, 02 January 2012 06:54)

 

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