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David Wilkinson & Annette Lund

The Steen & Strøm department store has gathered the best of continental shopping, collating well known Norwegian, Scandinavian and international brands and designers across six floors in one location. Here, RLI speaks with Annette Lund, CEO of Promenaden Management and David Wilkinson, Executive Director for Steen & Strøm to discuss the latest renovations and ideas for the future of one of the oldest department stores in the world.

The Steen & Strøm story began in 1797 when Samuel Strøm was established on the corner of Prinsensgate and Kongensgate. Over two centuries later the store continues to go from strength to strength, steadily increasing its reputation of being the luxury retailer to visit in Oslo today and for years to come.

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The business is managed by Promenaden Management within a portfolio of 12 buildings; Steen & Strøm is the jewel in the crown of their estate. The department store is well located in the very centre of Oslo and at the forefront of the Norwegian luxury scene.
“At Promenaden, we are all about bringing unique and luxury brands to the market, combining these with restaurants, cafes and office space. Norwegians and tourists will find an inspiring shopping experience, Steen & Strøm is at the centre of this offering,” explains Annette Lund, CEO of Promenaden Management.

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Trading for almost 225 years, Steen & Strøm is one of the oldest department stores in the world; this is a key differentiator for the brand along with its intrinsic place within the community of Oslo. Their strategy involves working very closely with the local community and being the store not only of Oslo, but the wider population of Norway.
This strategy continues to pay dividends not only for Promenaden Management, but Steen & Strøm as well. The management company saw double digit growth whilst the brand saw an increase of 7 per cent in sales in comparison to 2019 across the summer months, and the locals appear to remain very supportive.
These excellent numbers for Steen & Strøm come at a time when they are undergoing key refurbishments, for which the first phase is complete. The phase includes the new entrance to Karl Johans Gate, new atrium and a beauty hall. The new entrance is a significant change as this is Norway’s most frequented shopping street with over 15.5 million shoppers every year (in normal times). It is forecast that the wider makeover will drive footfall from 2.2 million to 5 million visitors in 2022.

Garnering a global reputation, the department store continues to innovate with initiatives such as the new beauty hall, home to over 200 brands. With both Promenaden and Steen & Strøm having small but creative, passionate teams, many further initiatives are in the pipeline.
“The idea moving forward is to upgrade each floor, focusing on the offering and making Steen & Strøm more relevant. We intend to include more luxury and premium brands, this is really where we differentiate ourselves from other types of shopping centres or districts,” Lund says.

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All Images are of Steen and Strøm, Oslo, Norway

Having spoken about recent upgrades onsite, David Wilkinson, Executive Director of Steen & Strøm, explains that running parallel with the physical development is the launch of the new e-commerce offering and e-commerce channel which they will bring to the market in early March. “This is a very exciting development that will really cement both the physical and digital strategy of our company. As retail is not open in Norway on Sundays, this new offering will leverage the business to a 24/7 market.” explains David.
Moving on to discuss social media; Wilkinson says that it is something the business is actively pursuing. Being an important cog in the ecosystem of Oslo due to its location right in the centre of the city, they understand its importance as an instantaneous method of gaining interest in new brand arrivals, launches and activities.