Gustav Öhrn, chief executive at Stadium for the last seven years, is preparing to leave the Swedish sporting goods retailer at the end of September, after a robust set of results for the last financial year and Stadium's move into the German market.
The company reported sales of 5,048 million Swedish kronor (€545.4m-$600.0m) for the year to the end of August 2014, excluding VAT, which was an increase of 4.3 percent in spite of the unfavorable weather in most of the Nordic countries. Stadium's pre-tax profit climbed by 10 percent to SEK 220 million (€23.8m-$26.1m).
The group had 154 stores across Sweden, Denmark and Finland at the end of the fiscal year, compared with 145 stores the previous year. The number of stores increased by 7 to 119 in Sweden and by 4 to 25 in Finland but Stadium closed down two stores in Denmark, reducing the network to 10 stores.
After Stadium's move into the German market with the opening of a first store in Hamburg last September, the retailer opened a second German store of about 1,100 square meters in March in the Altona district of Hamburg. The German activities have been supervised by Dorte Block, Stadium's country manager for Denmark, but she is handing over the responsibilities for the German market to Johan Sandgren. The latter previously worked at Stadium as country manager for Sweden but then temporarily left the company. He will be based in Hamburg, where Stadium is performing well, according to the company
An executive search has begun to replace Öhrn, who will be taking a break but hopes to return to the sports business next year. In case Stadium hasn't found any permanent chief executive by the start of October, the job will be handled on an interim basis by Karl Eklöf, expansion director and son of Ulf Eklöf, the retail group's vice-chairman and major shareholder.
Öhrn's tenure has been marked by the rapid expansion of Stadium's online sales, multiple store openings in Finland and the development of Stadium Outlet stores in Sweden. This is one of the tactics that apparently helped the group to expand its market share in the country in spite of the aggressive advances of XXL, the Norwegian retailer, and the opening of Decathlon in Stockholm. Ulf Eklöf praised Öhrn in Sportfack for lifting the company's profitability.
Another six Stadium Outlet stores were opened in Sweden last year. The retailer currently has 26 of them in Sweden and another two will open in the country in the next few weeks. The company also opened its first Stadium Outlet store in Finland last month in the large Tammisto shopping center in Vantaa, on the outskirts of Helsinki. The mall is also the location of one of Stadium's 26 regular stores in the country. Stadium will open another outlet in Finland in the autumn.
The group's sales in Sweden were up by 2.4 percent to SEK 3,949 million (€426.6m-$469.1m) for the fiscal year ended last August, while those in Finland jumped by 20.2 percent to the equivalent of SEK 797 million (€86.1m-$94.7m). On the other hand, Stadium's Danish sales slipped by 6.2 percent to SEK 302 million (€32.6m-$35.9m), all excluding VAT.