Danish international retail chain JYSK sells everything customers need for the home and is owned by the family behind Lars Larsen Group. Here, RLI speaks with Jan Bøgh, CEO and President of JYSK to discuss what the future holds and how the company is looking to continue expanding an already impressive store portfolio.

Founder Lars Larsen opened the first JYSK store in 1979 in Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, whilst in 1984 he took it outside of the country for the first time, launching in neighbouring Germany. Today, the company has 2,848 stores in 52 countries including stores named Dänisches Bettenlager and franchised stores. It has wholly owned stores in Belgium, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the UK.

“The last 12 months have been very satisfying for us as a brand,” explains Jan Bøgh, CEO and President of JYSK. “We have continued to attract more customers, seen a growth in turnover and perception wise we are moving in the right direction. Our Range & Design team have done a lot to find exciting new products, which is making the brand even more attractive, especially to younger customers.”

With more than 100 new store openings on an annual basis, the company is still in growth mode. On 29 August this year, they set a new record of store openings, by launching 11 in one day, proof if it was ever needed that the business is professional and extremely well organised! A particular highlight in the last financial year was the opening of a unit in Ireland, which according to Bøgh has gone very well and they are continuing to see a lot of customers and great numbers in the market.

The upcoming development pipeline will see the simultaneous opening of new stores and the continuous development of its online solutions. The continuation of these store openings will see the brand launch a store for the first time in the Russian market, opening in April next year. One of the biggest furniture brands in the world, JYSK maintains this position in the market by increasing its investments in its Range & Design team to ensure that they always move with the trends and our selling products which are relevant to its customers in this day and age.

We asked Bøgh how the company has embraced the importance placed on social media in the modern retail world and how important it is to the company’s current marketing strategy and growth… “Social media is an important part of our strategy. We have local social media and digital coordinators in the countries where we are present, making it possible for us to interact with our customers through corporate messages as well as by being local and knowledgeable about specific locations. If you are not able to do that you simply become irrelevant as a company.”

The brand has built up a strong degree of customer loyalty in the last 40 years, and they have done this by offering the best customer service and a great offer every time customers interact with the business. The company is also aware it only takes one bad experience to break this built-up trust, which emphasises the importance of always putting the customer and their needs first in everything they do. Drivers behind the success of JYSK are its strong internal values which are used in its daily work. Its steady stream of loyal, committed and happy employees has been, and will continue to be, an extremely important reason why the brand is successful in the future.

“Another reason I believe we have been successful is our ability to buy big volumes, which makes it possible for us to offer prices for our customers well below those of our competitors. This is what has made it possible for us to always have a great offer in all of the countries where we are represented,” explains Bøgh. The strong values of the company originated from its Founder Lars Larsen and the fact the business is a familyowned company. Its three fundamental values are its tradesman, its colleagues and its corporate spirit. Of course we must also mention its pivotal Scandinavian heritage, this is also important for the business, both in the way they work with their employees and the way they treat their customers.

‘I believe there are always challenges, but I also believe that most of them can be turned into opportunities. Obviously online shopping is here to stay, and will become an increasing part of turnover. However by combining our physical stores, our skilled employees and our online development, I do not see why this development should not benefit us’ Bøgh says. Bøgh finishes the interview by mentioning global issues such as Brexit, the risk of trade wars and recessions and how this may affect JYSK moving forward. ‘Despite the risk of these, people still need a bed to sleep in, a duvet and a pillow. Our products are essential, so long as we offer the best products at the best price; we will stay relevant in the market.’