[Nettavisen:] "In the future, there are a number of bankruptcies in the fashion industry and other industries. Only traders who have followed the watch will survive," says Ola Mæle, the investor and co-owner of the Follestad fashion chain in Nettavisen.
Mælle has been in the Norwegian fashion industry for almost 40 years. First as one of the founders behind Bike Bok and Poco Loco. Then with Voice of Europe and the Match, Vic and Bois of Europe concept.
After a decade of rest, he returned to the industry as the owner of the Follestad chain.
– They will die
In the next few years, there will be a sharp separation of clothing and other stores. Several chains have already gone bankrupt, such as PM, Simpler Life and Spent, while others have dropped a large number of stores.
– Someone managed to find a niche and adapt to changes, but many disappear. Those who do not have a clear profile or are not lying on the Internet, die, says Mæle.
However, he does not believe that it is primarily due to the competition of online stores.
"E-commerce is a challenge, and the biggest problem of the industry in the last few years is not e-commerce, but excessive trade. It was huge, says Mæle, who believes that there are currently too many clothing stores in Norway.
"It's not just fashion, but devices, sports, shoes, interior, everything is in it. In Norway, we have a twice larger trading zone per capita than other countries in Europe," he says.
In addition to bankruptcy, a fashion neighbor believes that the big chains will reduce the number of stores.
"I expect that big players will quickly reduce the number of stores in the future, but in the long run, it's good to stay," says Mæle, who is waiting for that risk to go fast.
– It's like housing construction. If the market falls, every man at the same time pulls the brake. In two to three years, we've probably seen a great adaptation in the industry, he says.
He believes that those who have an obscure profile are the most vulnerable.
"In many cases you can go to Zara and get the appropriate items at half price. Those who do not change, die, says.
Jeans and dress
It creates specialized stores about the name, which specializes in shoes as an example of stores that have managed to find a niche. The same goes for existing fashion stores like Retro and Bogart in Trondheim. There are profile shops that can remind you of Follestad.
"Follestad's niche is a quality product for adults and young people, and we sell it at low prices, but at a good price. With us, the suit costs about 5,000 crowns, against 25,000 in Nedre Slottsgate, where you can find real luxuries," says Mæle.
Follestad is in an attractive niche, that is, men's fashion, which in the last few years has been the biggest growth.
– Men's fashion has increased, but this is because it comes from scratch. says Measurement and Laughing.
"Men of my father's generation were in a hat, a coat, a dress, and that's all. Now people are more engaged in clothing." We are currently selling many outdoor jackets from brands such as Uber, Parajumpers and Canada Goose.
He does not think that growth will slow down with the former.
"There are still new products and new segments, the fashion industry must always have news. I, for a long time, see that it repeats itself. It's a fashion business," the same shit, a new wrapper, "says Mæle, smiling again .
From 250 stores to none
When Mæle began in the fashion industry in the late seventies, clothes shops dominate the street scene, and their own fashion for young people was not found.
It changed when Mæle and four other partners started the group Bik Bok with brands such as Bik Bok, Poco Loco, Poco Lino and Poco Classico.
At the same time, new competitors came in, especially Swedish and Danish chains with low prices, such as Hennes and Mauritz and Vera Moda. These chains are now present in most markets, while older traders, as before, have disappeared.
"When I started out in the clothing industry, we had Samtek, Kualitek, Herrcon, Contek, Tekpartner and Texile chain, which was bored with 100 to 100 stores in every one." Almost all of them were missing, except Tekcon, says Mæle.
He even lost control of Measle over the group Taurus Book in the late 1980's. He then launched Voice of Europe and the concepts of Match, Vic and Bois of Europe with clothing brands like Jean Paul and Henri Choice.
He entered with the best
He sold chains to the Color Line entrepreneur Olav Nils Sun, in 2003, but returned to the fashion industry in 2014, when he took over 50 percent of the shares in Follestad.
This happened after Bengt Follestad and his son Villiam were looking for investors to change generations.
"When I was in Glas, Follestad was the sweetest trader I knew. When I was supposed to show Bengt's collection, he knew exactly what he should not have been interested in buying anything else, and I realized that there was total control. he entered, says Mæle and laughs again.
Follestad now has 11 stores in Great Oslo. They have no plans to expand to other parts of Norway, but look at the possibility of entering Sweden.
"In Stockholm there is a Stroms store, which is Follestad in Stockholm, which translates 100 million kroner into a single store, so it's clear that it's amazing, but it's a big step for us to go to Sweden. We need to find the right reason," says Mæle .