Even though e-commerce is booming, physical stores still have their place in the Nordic consumers’ hearts. By no means are all global (or local) brands shrinking their store count or geographical spread. In fact, many international and Nordic retail brands have recently expanded or will expand in the near future in the Nordics. Since the average retail brand penetration in the Nordics is still much lower compared to Central Europe, there is indeed room for newcomers.

Uniqlo opened in Stockholm

One of the most interesting new brands launched in the Swedish market is a Japanese casual apparel brand Uniqlo. Their first Nordic store was opened in downtown Stockholm in August 2018. In total, Uniqlo has close to 2,000 stores on several continents worldwide.

An interesting – and slightly more local – movement was also seen in the Swedish market in year 2018. A popular Danish discounter chain Normal had their first Swedish openings during 2018. Normal has previously had close to 100 stores in Denmark and Norway. Now they are growing their store chain rapidly in the Swedish market. Another Danish company expanding in Sweden is home décor brand Søstrene Grene that has recently opened several new stores.

Another Nordic leap will be seen also in the cinema market. Nordisk Film has previously had cinemas in Norway and Denmark, but now they will open movie theatres in Sweden as well.

Finnish brands have expanded in Sweden, too. The casual Middle Eastern street food chain Fafa’s has now its first restaurants in Sweden, as does the ecological food brand Ruohonjuuri (Happy Food Store).

Muji will open a flagship store in Helsinki

Uniqlo is not the only Japanese brand with interest in the Nordic markets. Japanese design and lifestyle brand Muji announced that they will open a new flagship store in Helsinki city center in 2019. Previously, Muji has had pop up stores in Finland. In total, Muji has almost 900 stores globally.

The British sports fashion retailer JD Sports entered Finland in 2018 and now have two stores there, with new openings to follow in 2019. In addition, Polish LPP Group will introduce its whole brand portfolio Reserved, Cropp, House, Mohito and Sinsay to Finnish consumers in 2019. Estonian Baltika Group opened its first Finnish Monton brand store in the shopping centre Iso Omena, Espoo. Another Baltic newcomer in Finland is the cinema chain Cinamon. Other newcomers in the Finnish market are Swiss outdoor clothing store Maya Maya, American Suit Supply and the premium liquorice brand Lakrids.

An interesting sign is that the Dutch cosmetics and home products brand Rituals will bring products to department store counters in the Helsinki city center. Rituals has already had its own stores in all other Nordic countries except Finland. We will stay tuned and hope to see Rituals store openings soon in Finland as well!

Samsung and many new food experieces in Oslo

One of the most interesting recent openings in Oslo was the new Samsung Experience Store. There are also many international restaurant newcomers in the Norwegian market.

The British fast food chain Leon and the American hamburger restaurant chain Johnny Rockets have both opened their first restaurants in Norway. Additionally, Beijin8 is currently serving their dim sums now in Norway. Previously they had several restaurants in Sweden and one outlet in Helsinki and in Paris.

In fact, there have been several interesting openings in the Nordics during the past one or two years. Although the retail market is impacted by e-commerce, many brands are still actively opening new stores and entering to new markets. There is no reason to believe that this would not continue also in 2019.