At Intersport Sverige's annual general meeting last month, the retail members of the 50-year-old voluntary group decided to give it a more capitalistic structure – somewhat like the one adopted in France or the one that was recently decided for adoption in Spain. At the end of this year, the Swedish Intersport will become in effect an integrated retail chain owning the majority of the shares in each affiliated store, and all the decisions would be made centrally. Each retail member would still own about 9 percent of his or her store and would still own shares in Intersport Sverige, based on the valuation of its stores. This major change was described by the group's chief executive, Fredrik Johanson, as a necessary adjustment in order to survive in an increasingly competitive market. It should free up time for store owners to focus on local marketing and customer service rather than administrative work and purchasing. Increased profitability and capital efficiency are expected. Other key words for the new structure are uniformity, clarity and entrepreneurship. As of now, about 95 percent of all the retail members have approved the new set-up. The future of the stores that have not yet signed remains unclear, but the management says it is aiming for 100 percent acceptance.

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