Danish home furnishings and accessories retail chain Søstrene Grene has revealed that its latest openings in Belfast and Dublin have been ‘overwhelmingly positive’ as it plans to open its first store in Cork, as well as confirming it has its ‘radar’ on potential UK sites.
Søstrene Grenes opened both its new stores on 4 November 2016 and said that the reaction has been ‘extremely positive’, in particular its Belfast branch on Anne Street, which attracted around 6,000 visitors over its opening weekend.
Bjørn Bach Eriksen, COO and head of retail expansion, said: “We are very happy with the start in the Belfast. We had an overwhelming welcome and we can see over social media that it has been a very positive reaction. We also opened our fourth store in Dublin and again the reaction was overwhelming and we can see very positive turnover figures.”
Following the successful launches, Sostrene Grostrene prepares to open its debut store in Cork on 18 November and will be located on Patrick’s Street, whilst further plans of expansion in Northern Ireland are currently underway and under wraps.
As well as its Irish rollout, Bjørn unveiled plans that the company has been in the UK working on potential locations to add to its Nottingham presence, which opened earlier this year in March.
Although remaining tight-lipped on where and how many locations the company is targeting, Bjørn indicated that the UK is a market that has potential.
Bjørn said: “I think the UK is a special market, it has extremely good potential but you have to be careful as the occupation cost is quite high compared to the rest of Europe.
“We have a lot of UK locations on our radar and have been travelling quite frequently to the UK to visit some of the potential locations we are looking at. We are trying to find the right locations, the shape of the locations and for the right price, which of course is the most challenging part.”
The company has decided to take a UK store-by-store approach, with a view roll out the franchise concept over the next couple of years.
Bjørn concluded: “We are looking to find franchise partners who are capable to run the financial part because the UK is quite an expensive country to expand in. We are currently looking and working hard on trying to find the right franchise partners.
“We have more than 50 stores in our Danish market and we think the UK has the potential to be bigger. We want to build a sustainable franchise business so the store-by-store approach suits this.”