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Arken Zoo at full throttle

Arken Zoo is growing. After achieving sales growth of 40 per cent last year, the Swedish pet supplies chain is aiming to open 30 new pet stores in 2009, CEO Lars Bergkvist announced at the International Pet Conference.
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Download: Arken Zoo at full throttle (PDF file)Sweden is a country that is 2 500 km long and 600 km wide - yet in spite of its considerable size, the Nordic country has only 9 million inhabitants. According to Lars Bergkvist, the pet supplies sector there generates annual sales of € 480 mio. The most common pet is the cat, of which there are an estimated 1.6 mio, while the dog population numbers 1.1 mio in Sweden.The speciality retail trade accounts for 47 per cent of pet product sales in Sweden, and Lars Bergkvist puts the number of pet stores at 800. The biggest chain is the company Granngarden with 100 outlets, followed by Arken Zoo and Djurmagazinet with 45 stores each.New imageIn his talk, Lars Bergkvist introduced his company, including its new logo with the slogan "We love pets" and the chain's new image. Sales growth of 40 per cent in the previous year shows that Arken Zoo seems to be on the right track. Lars Bergkvist cited eight characteristics of Arken Zoo, including its concentrated marketing strategy: starting with events in the stores and extending to direct mail shots to pet owners and a club card, the Swedish speciality chain is exploiting all avenues and has succeeded in raising its profile markedly in this way. The introduction of a centrally operated merchandise planning and control system has enabled the company to analyse its sales trend better and reach conclusions about its range composition from this. The number of in-store advertising media has been increased considerably and the firm's corporate identity improved step by step. In this regard Arken Zoo has also worked hard on developing team spirit and a sense of company solidarity among its employees. Regular meetings, competitions organised in the stores and a kick-off meeting twice a year are intended to contribute to this.The steady growth of Arken Zoo has enabled the company to reduce its prices and thereby enhance its competitiveness. At the same time, the chain is making efforts to increase the skills of its employees on an ongoing basis, and to this end it has established an Arken "academy".Lars Bergkvist is highly optimistic about the future. Arken Zoo aims to open 30 new stores in the coming year and accelerate the pace of growth still further.
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