OPEN AIR GROUP
CAMILO SJÖDIN, CEO
Open Air Group is a corporate group working with clothing and equipment for outdoor activities, hunting and dogs. It has companies in Sweden, Norway and Finland. The Group’s companies are divided into two divisions – retail and brands.
Open Air Group has been part of Mellby Gård since 2019, when the Group acquired the Chevalier brand company. As a result of this, Mellby Gård has a 23 percent holding in Open Air Group. Mellby Gård’s representative on the Board of Directors is Sven Knutsson.
- Headquarters: Stockholm
- Sales 2021: SEK 6 million
- Employees (FTE): 75
- Chairman: Rickard Kemfors
OPEN AIR GROUP’S 2021
A COMPLETE OUTDOOR EXPERIENCE
The Open Air Group’s nine different subsidiaries offer more or less everything you need in the wilderness, from woollen underwear to GPS tracking for hunting dogs. Two important acquisitions took place during the year, and the Group’s expansion is continuing.
The Open Air Group is an acquisition-driven group aiming to grow by consolidating the market for outdoor activities, hunting and dogs. Synergies are achieved by means of cooperation among the Group’s subsidiaries. The Group comprises of three divisions – Brands, Retail and Technology.
Retail includes the Widforss online shopping companies in Sweden and Norway, and the Finnish online shopping company Retkitukku. The division’s sales increased by 15 per cent during the year, but the division is rigged for significantly faster growth than that. A new warehouse in Morgongåva, near Stockholm, opened this year. The warehouse covers an area of 20,000 square metres, compared with the 5,000 square metres from which it’s relocating. Despite the challenges, Widforss.se was named E-Retailer of the Year in the sports and leisure category by price comparison company PriceRunner.
PANDEMIC BOOSTED OUTDOOR PURSUITS
“The first six months of the year were strong for Retail as the COVID-19 pandemic boosted outdoor activities at home rather than travelling abroad. But it wasn’t long before we were faced with strained inventory management at our old premises. This is something we’re addressing by relocating to a new, bigger warehouse.”
Retail interacts naturally with the other two divisions by acting as the primary sales channel for them. Brands develop, design and sell clothing and equipment for hunting and outdoor activities. Its brands are Chevalier, Alaska and – through an acquisition as recently as December 2021 – Norwegian clothing company Aclima.
Aclima is a third-generation family business specialising in highquality merino wool clothing. The company is the market leader in merino wool clothing in Norway, and its turnover last year amounted to more than SEK 200 million. This acquisition provides the Open Air Group with a majority holding and adds a significant platform for Brands in Norway, complementing the other Chevalier and Alaska offerings that are a little more focused on hunting. The acquisition also brings with it profitability right from the outset.
“Our online stores showed us that Aclima is a popular brand and that customers are becoming more and more interested in high quality outdoor clothing. The company will maintain its independence within the Open Air Group, but it will also have the opportunity to grow still further through our sales channels and best practices within the division.”
HUNTING WITH DIGITAL SUPPORT IS GROWING
Technology is a new division which came into being in 2021 following the acquisition of Ultracom and Wehunt. Tracker is already part of the Group. These three companies develop apps for hunting and dogs. Tracker is a GPS system that indicates the location of a dog – this information can be viewed in an app on a mobile phone. Ultracom also offers a positioning system for dogs, but with a technological overlap with Tracker. The two brands together have more than 100,000 users, and will benefit from one another’s expertise as technology continues to develop.
There’s also Wehunt of Sweden, which has more than 400,000 users and is an app showing maps of hunting grounds and the positions of members of a hunting team. A 100 per cent holding in the company was acquired in early 2021. Together, these three companies have the opportunity to merge technologies to form the market’s leading and most complete digital hunting system.
“Digital technology is growing apace when it comes to hunting. This is helping to make hunting safer while also enhancing the whole experience. Wehunt saw 50 per cent growth in 2021. The business model here involves subscription to the service, which provides recurring revenue. We have high expectations when it comes to development in this division.”
Overall, the Open Air Group increased its sales by around 30 per cent in 2021, while also increasing its profitability.
“We’ve grown in just a few years to become a major player in our industry. But of course, that’s really not enough for us. We’re always on the lookout for complementary acquisitions both in Brands, where. new brands can complement our offering, and in Technology, where new technologies can help to improve our services still further. We’re also continuing to hone our online shopping to give an even better customer experience. I’d like to thank all our staff who’ve worked so hard to overcome the challenges we faced this year and helped to bring about our positive development.”
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS 2021
Acquisition of WeHunt.
Acquisition of Aclima.
A contract was signed for a bigger new warehouse.