The retail trade continued to face challenges during...
Johan Aberg is the President and CEO of KappAhl, a leading clothing chain based in Europe. He tells about the challenges faced by the retail chain outlets, in an interview with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Manushi Gandhi.
KappAhl has four hundred stores spread in five countries of Europe. The fashion chain has launched a special "Future, Friendly, Fashion" concept for sustainability. In 1999, it was the first fashion chain to receive environmental management standard certification. The company enjoyed sales of SEK 4.6 billion during the financial year 2011/2012.
Johan Aberg, aged 52 is the President and CEO of KappAhl since 2012. Before KappAhl he has been the CEO of companies like Jula AB and Bauhaus Sweden. He has also worked with ONOFF, New Sports, H&M and Urban Outfitters. He has has studied in the U.S.A. and has a degree from IHM Business School.
What are the major problems faced by the apparel retailers?
The market has for a long time now been fighting transformative challenges as long-term financial crisis, increased competition: both from competitors and changes in customers’ buying-patterns as well as a fashion with a slow change frequency etc. We are also facing the challenge of long-term sustainable production, for a long-term sustainable business as well as for credibility in customer, employee and other stakeholder relations.
In apparel retailing there is a B2C (business 2 costumer) connection, do you feel that it is more challenging when compared to B2B working type?
The competition is extensive but it is a matter of understanding who the customer is. This challenge is fundamental for all businesses.
What are KappAhl’s business expansion plans? Have you thought of entering the Asian markets?
At the moment KappAhl is focused on strengthening our present position on current markets and on the internet.
You tend to endorse KappAhl as 'affordable fashion’ can you please define this term?
KappAhl has a wide range of fashion for the whole family: all ages, all nationalities, all sizes, all occasions with an attractive price range.
You claim to get 300,000 footfalls per day in the stores, How do you manage this?
Making the visitor become a customer is one of the main challenges of our business. Good marketing and encouraging loyal customers is of essence. Furthermore our stores and our assortment shall be inviting and inspire the visitor to make the purchase.
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