Clas Ohlson: no growth in 2019/20 – strong online sales in April
Sales of the Swedish retailer Clas Ohlson for the 2019/20 financial year (May 2019 to April 2020) were nearly in line with last year and amounted to SEK 8.758 bn (EUR 824 mio, -0.16 per cent). Organic sales were marginally higher compared with the previous year, according to the company. Sales in comparable units and local currency increased by 1 per cent. Sales in the Nordic countries increased by 2 per cent, corresponding to organic growth of 3 per cent. Online sales for the financial year increased by 25 per cent to SEK 542 mio (EUR 51 mio). Total sales for the fourth quarter (February to April 2020) declined by 6 per cent to SEK 1.644 mio (EUR 155 mio). Organic sales decreased by 2 per cent. Sales in comparable units and local currency were unchanged. Online sales for the fourth quarter increased by 45 per cent to SEK 138 mio (EUR 13 mio). In April alone, online sales grew by 61 per cent, not least because the demand for product ranges related to the home rose on account of Covid-19. Currently, all of Clas Ohlson's physical stores in the Nordics remain open - some with standard opening hours, others with reduced opening hours based on the conditions in each country and location. Staff levels in stores have been continuously adjusted through temporary lay-offs based on the prevailing conditions in the form of higher sickness absence than normal and the shorter opening hours and restrictions applicable in each country. Around 300 store employees (corresponding to about 90 FTEs) have been temporarily laid off from about 70 stores. In addition, about 200 office employees have had their working hours reduced by approximately 20 per cent for two months. E-commerce in the UK was transferred to Amazon's online shopping platform on 1 May.