Kungen’s Kurva Shopping Centre, just outside of Stockholm, is Sweden’s largest commerce site. This is where Peter Stenlund opened his sixth store one year ago—only 600 meters from another shop in the same retail chain, and with several other competitors close by.
“If you are confident and believe in your concept there is no reason to be afraid of competition. On the contrary, it is positive to establish your brand where the traffic is,” Stenlund says.
The large shopping center originally came together by several different malls that over time grew in to each other. Kungen’s Kurva, which can pride with having the largest Ikea in the world, also has a brand new shopping arcade and there are plans to double the amount of shopping opportunities. Additionally, there are two other centres in the area: Heron City and Skärholmen’s Centre. “The catchment area is very large,” Stenlund explains, “and tells us there are about 1.7 million potential customers. This opportunity was just right, as the development during 2014 was very strong.”
Stenlund’s business has reached a critical point as it’s become too large to handle without some essential areas being covered. “The fifth store was probably the most difficult,” he says. “We were still working in a small scale and couldn’t hire a Regional Director, but [it was] too big for me to handle myself. It was up to me to delegate the workload, have self-sufficient stores, and to trust the staff. A Store Manager is completely necessary and also functions as a Deputy for the store.”
The competition in the new establishment is grand, however Stenlund says that Lekia’s double establishment isn’t remarkable in the context, and there are several strong examples to mark this. They are contending with the in-size, largest Toys ‘R Us in the Nordics, Big Baby, a large-scale child and baby store, and not to be forgotten—Ikea. ”If I’ve learned anything, it comes down to observing the traffic and most of all customer frequency. Competition can drive customers for each other and at the same time it pushes the retailers to become better and better,” Stenlund says.
The store is located on the second floor in Kungen’s Kurva Shopping Centre and holds 630 square meters of retail place. It is a combined area of Lekia and Babyproffsen, which are both Voluntary Specialist Retail Chains that Stenlund is a member of. This is something he finds both convenient and natural. At our visit to the store, the baby section isn’t fully ready but everything else has found its place. The staffs are fully trained and a walkway is prepared in the center of the store.
“We want the line between ‘play’ and ‘baby’ to be a bit blurred, but it’s essential that it’s easy for the customers to find what they are looking for,” Stenlund says. About 40 per cent of the revenue comes from ‘baby,’ according to Stenlund.
Stenlund is a spokes person who strongly speaks for the sake that toys belong together with child- and baby products. “This is a necessary qualification to achieve profitable stores,” Stenlund says. “You have to see it from the customer’s point of view. The advantage with ‘baby’ is that it requires a deeper knowledge, which means you can’t sell it everywhere.”
As previously mentioned, the employees are an important resource for Peter Stenlund, who works after the principle of “team power.”
“Everyone helps out, and everyone has knowledge of the different areas, even if some have specific responsibilities,” Stenlund explains. “It’s important that you are a sales person in a positive and true sense. For example, we have an extra large retail expertise, as both the Store Manager and the Deputy in charge have a background of working at large retail chains. There is a difference in selling and to have goods for sale.”
On Stenlund’s to-do list we find staff supplementation, as well as to continue having recurring phone meetings with the Store Manager every week. When and if the long-sought-for Regional- or Sales Director can be hired, all depends on when the next store comes to life. In terms of the turnover Peter don’t want to rush to conclusion.
“I expect it to take 24 months before we reach a reasonable level,” Stenlund says.