Holland & Barrett Sweden AB, the UK-based health food retailer’s Swedish operation, has closed all its 21 stores after the business was placed in administration in late March.
Holland & Barrett opened its first store in Sweden in 2016, in the prestigious ‘Mall of Scandinavia’, quickly adding a further three stores in the Stockholm area.
In November 2017 Holland & Barrett Sweden announced its merger with Hälsa för alla, a specialist natural health and wellbeing retailer (then trading as a LIFE Europe AB franchisee), taking its store portfolio to 16.
With consumers in the Nordic countries spending more per capita per year, Holland & Barrett at this point had high ambitions for its Swedish operation, declaring that it wanted 100 stores in Sweden.
But by September of last year Holland & Barrett Sweden AB’s CEO Daniel Tadic told Market that the business had “chosen to slow down the process to await improvements to the concept in the UK”.
In a statement, Holland & Barrett’s head office in the UK said that decision to close the Swedish business formed part of a wider review of its international activities and was unrelated to the Covid-19 crisis.
The company said: “Following this review, we have identified that our operation in Sweden is no longer sustainable, and it is with regret that a formal administration on our Swedish business, comprising 21 stores, has now begun.
“While regrettably, as part of these store closures there will be redundancies within the Swedish market, the administrator will manage this process in the best interest of both the business and its employees.
“Holland & Barrett’s UK and Ireland presence, as well as our remaining international presence, continues to be strong. Despite a challenging retail environment, Holland & Barrett saw accelerating sales growth in both e-commerce and store channels in the most recent trading update.”