– Negotiations stumbled – E24

– Negotiations stumbled – E24

Danish company Biltima’s sales exceeded half a billion dollars for the first time last year. Growth has been strong in the past two years, but tough times are now forcing the pace of growth to slow.

More challenging times: – Many of the store openings we were supposed to open last year have been postponed until this year. And some until 2024, says Thansen CEO Igor Petrović.
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– This store had good finances in the past, so I’m very excited to see how it will turn out with a full range and assembly hall, says Thansen CEO Igor Petrovic.

It’s store opening day at Vestby storcenter. It was formerly located in the town of Ski, but has now moved to nearly twice as large premises in the “warehouse municipality” of Vestby.

After entering the Norwegian market in 2017, the Danish car accessories chain Thansen has grown to 41 stores.

With about 10 stores opening in each of the past two years, sales have skyrocketed.

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Petrovitch said last spring that the company was targeting 700 million in turnover in 2022. That was before the economic turmoil hit in full force.

The Norwegian president is currently withholding exact numbers for last year, but says there was “at least 15 percent growth”.

15 percent of NOK 496 million in 2021 equals NOK 570 million.

Exposed openings

Petrovic says the economic landscape has forced Tansen to lower the growth rate somewhat.

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– Several store openings that we were supposed to do last year have been postponed until this year. And some until 2024. On many projects that we were supposed to sign, negotiations have stalled.

He talks about the turmoil in the rental and construction market, where construction workers are waiting for the situation due to the high costs.

– We have to admit we missed out on some projects, but we still opened four stores last year, which we think is great. And we’ll open four in the first half of 2023. Then ideally we’d like to open more, but not at any price. However, as soon as the market returns, we are ready to get involved in the gas as quickly as we can.

Millions on marketing

When Thansen entered Norway in 2017, it was with the acquisition of 13 Torshov Bilrekvisitas stores.

Solid Growth: In just a few years, Thansen CEO Igor Petrović has seen the chain grow to more than 40 stores in Norway.

As a completely new player in the competition with established chains like Biltema, Bilxtra and Mekonomen, identity was Thansen’s biggest challenge, according to Petrović.

– We knew that we were entering a market with good competition, but we also knew that we had our own concept and business model that set us apart from others.

He says Thansen worked to build the brand in two ways: by opening new stores and through marketing.

– He says: we spend 35-40 million annually on marketing, and we will continue to do so.

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The minus turned into a plus

Torshov Bilrekvisita has been running losses since 2008 when Thansen took office.

In 2020, the chain of lost years has been broken and in 2021 the profits have risen to 25 million. Petrovic says that the past year has also been profitable.

– After the acquisition in 2017, we carried out a complete process review, concluded chain agreements in everything, reduced the number of third-party suppliers and brought in our own brand. These are the products we are most proud of, and which we believe are the best price.

The Thansen manager says they haven’t closed any of the 13 stores they took over in 2017, but that up to 10 have moved to larger venues.

– We’re also working on that in the last three.

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– We do not have the worst and heaviest competitor

In addition to the Vestby store, Thansen plans to open stores in Stavanger, Sandefjord and Hamar in the first half of the year.

At Vestby, Petrovic hopes for the influence they will get from the Vestby Fashion Outlet attraction.

Elsewhere, they’re facing some of the same influence from Biltema, which Petrovic doesn’t see as a direct competitor because they only carry their own brands.

More on Bones: A number of chains compete for customers in the same segment. Thansen faces competition from established chains such as Biltema, Bilxtra and Mekonomen.

– But Bilxtra exists, so there the competition is one to one.

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How do you feel about the competition?

– No, we see they’re closing some shops here and there, so… you tell me.

The statement does not impress Morten Birkland, CEO of Belextra.

– We have moved two stores, but there is no closure with us.

If one wishes to measure the strings against each other, Birkeland suggests instead that one look at the most recent accounts available, for 2021.

– We had 185 million as a result of a turnover of 900 million.

Birkeland adds that he considers market competition to be ruthless, and that Thansen is one of many who contribute to it, but that they are “no worse and heavier competitor to Belkstra”.

– We are all here to make money and at least hope our competitors are not ruined in this context.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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