On Aug. 29, XXL ASA opened its first XXL Sports & Outdoor store outside the Nordic countries, measuring 4,000 square meters, in the Shopping City Süd mall in Vienna. Attracted by strong marketing and promotions, around 13,000 visitors flocked to the store on the opening day, spending about €850,000, said the company while presenting its results for the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

The opening was followed by the launch of an e-commerce offering for the Austrian market on Sept. 17 under the xxlsports.at domain. The company had built up a customer database for the market. In spite of competition from Hervis Sport, which had registered an XXL.at domain, the Norwegian retailer was able to collect online revenues of around €530,000 through to the end of the month. A local daily, Der Standard, nominated XXL for one of the best online campaigns conducted in Austria in September.

On Oct. 9, XXL opened a smaller store of 3,500 sqm. in another Viennese shopping center, the Donauzentrum, and it has signed up for at least one more store in Linz for next spring. The company's management told the local press that it wants to attain market leadership in Austria by 2022 thanks to the uniqueness of its retail concept, where it guarantees the lowest price in the area for branded products - online and offline - and where private label represents only 6 percent of sales.

The statement was evidently a reference to Decathlon's plans to enter the Austrian market as well. With Sports Direct losing a lot of market share since its entry into the country, Intersport has benefited the most from its weakness, growing by 13 percent last year, thanks in part to the opening many new stores.

As outlined in our last issue, we estimate that Intersport reached a market share of 19 percent in Austria in 2016, roughly the same as Sport 2000. With a further sales increase of 16 percent so far this year, Intersport is likely to become the market leader in 2017.

With the planned opening of about four new stores per year, XXL is shooting for a market share of 25 percent in Austria in five years' time through a network of between 15 and 20 stores. The management points out that XXL has reached an estimated 18 percent market share in Finland with 13 stores in only three years' time.