The year 2021 was about focusing on adjustment for the future. A new strategic direction was launched with the goal of becoming Sweden’s leading e-retailer with optimal physical presence. Priority investments in developed customer offerings, strengthening the brand, growing e-commerce and increasing digitalization and automation were launched during the year.
GROWTH IN ALL CHANNELS
Sales in the stores, mainly around the city centers, were severely affected by restrictions at the beginning of 2021, after which sales developed positively during the summer and onwards. Sales for the full year increased despite seven store closures. Continued high demand online led to strong e-commerce growth. During the year, there was a strong focus on implementing new future investments, adjusting the cost base, updating the operating model, and automating and streamlining processes with the support of a new business system and data-driven decision-making.
NEW FUTURE STRATEGY AND INVESTMENTS
Extensive customer segmentation has been carried out, which provides insight into driving forces and the need to match customers’ preferences regarding product range, channels, experiences and prices. Continued investments are being made to strengthen the digital customer experience with increased personalization, and various delivery options. New functionalities are now offered on åhlens.se to give customers a first-class experience with relevant and targeted offers.
INVESTMENTS IN FUTURE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Åhléns’ new robotic warehouse in Rosersberg outside Stockholm is expected to open in the summer of 2022. The resulting new and more efficient logistics with a high degree of automation will provide faster and smoother deliveries to customers and strengthen Åhléns’ e-commerce offering. For an even better customer experience, Åhléns’ customer service is being digitalized and further developed and the opportunity to deliver directly from store to customer is being launched.
OWN BRAND DEVELOPMENT
During the year, Åhléns’ own brand Carin Wester took a new direction with inspiration from the brand’s dna, and a new sub-brand, C.W by Carin Wester, was launched. In 2022, Åhléns’ transformation will continue with the goal of delivering on the new strategy in the future.
Åhléns outlet – a growing format
The subsidiary Åhléns outlet opened its first store in 2018. In 2021, the outlet stores showed strong growth with strengthened profitability. During the year, three new stores opened and at the end of the year there were ten stores. Additional outlet stores are planned to open in 2022.