She has turned the negative trend and doubled the result.
Now, Lindex’s new CEO Susanne Ehnbåge talks about the difficulties the first time at work, the plans to close further stores – and how the company should encourage people to buy smaller clothes.
- We know that there is too much in the wardrobe that is never used, says Susanne Ehnbåge.
The Nordic fashion chain Lindex struggled through a tough year in 2017, which included cuts, savings of SEK 100 million and a declining sales.
But when the figures for 2018 were presented in early February this year, the situation was considerably brighter.
Since the company’s new CEO Susanne Ehnbåge took office in August last year, operating profit has more than doubled compared to the previous year and landed at SEK 298 million, while sales increased by 3.6 percent.
- Simply put, it has three parts to do – we have had the opportunity to increase sales, that is, increased revenues, we have managed to reduce the raw materials compared with the previous year and we also have better cost control this year, says Susanne Ehnbåge.
Planning to close stores
The 39-year-old Gothenburg can have a background at Siba and as CEO of the home electronics company Netonnet, where she mainly focused on e-commerce. The goal now is to develop Lindex’s digital platforms and online sales.
- E-commerce is a priority area where we put very much gunpowder. We are changing e-commerce platform this year, we will change our logistics center, we will expand the range for our e-commerce customers – so it is a lot of action that we believe is right for our customers, says Susanne Ehnbåge.
The consequence is that the number of physical stores shrinks and there may be a risk that employees will be terminated.
- We expect that we will have slightly fewer stores overall, but we will also open new stores – the location and the right customer range are extremely important, says Susanne Ehnbåge.
Ehnbåge: Difficult jargon at work
The clothing chain has chosen to keep this year’s clothing collection less trendy than before to attract more customers.
- What I understood was a little too complicated the year before, with hard-wearing garments and too high fashion. Now we have met more correctly for our Lindex customer, says Susanne Ehnbåge.
At the same time, she admits that she has no closer knowledge of fashion, and that there were several crashes during the first few weeks at work, as she did not understand all the industry terms:
- You have a certain jargon in a company with words that everyone knows, but which you yourself are new to.
Susanne Ehnbåge mentions the campaign phrase “t3b2” – take three pay for two – as an example.
- For me it was not given my first days here, it is a Lindex expression.
Encourages customers to buy smaller clothes
The hope for 2019 is that the good results with increased sales will continue. Despite this, Lindex is working on developing a strategy that involves customers shopping for less clothes.
- We look at how Lindex can help our customers to really use their wardrobe, that the products you buy will be sustainable in the long run and utilized, says Susanne Ehnbåge.
The company already offers its customers to hand in old Lindex clothes for reuse and also wants to encourage them to take advantage of the clothes they buy. The sustainable investment also involves reviewing transports in order to avoid unnecessary emissions.
- We are launching a new sustainability ambition during the year which covers our impact throughout our value chain, says Susanne Ehnbåge.