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Norway goes Central Europe

Bik Bok
13. March 2015

Bik Bok opened in Vienna 

H&M, Zara and Mango are about to get fierce competition from Norway on the Austrian market: Just recently Oslo fashion company Bik Bok opened its first store in one of Vienna´s largest malls “Auhof Center”. Within short this is the second fashion chain Norwegian Varner Group opens in Austria. Their men´s fashion only retailer, Dressman, entered the Austrian market on March 5th.

Varner Group is already successfully established in Sweden, Finland and Denmark. “Despite stern competition, we have had great success in these countries.” Bik Bok CEO Marianne Bjarstad says upon her visit to Austria, being highly optimistic about the Austrian venture.

According to Marianne Bjarstad Bik Bok offers a “somewhat more grown-up fashion than other chains, in a clearly Scandinavian style”, focusing among others on high-quality jeans. The prices are - similar to competitor H&M - set in the lower range. Production is mainly located in Turkey, but also in China and Bangladesh. In order to secure fair working conditions, the company has inspectors in China and Bangladesh and even visits the cotton producers regularly.

A total of seven Bik-Bok stores will operate around Vienna, with two more stores opening in regional centres Graz and Linz this year. Until the end of 2016 up to 20 stores are being planned for in Austria. After utilizing Austria as a test-market, Germany would be the next great leap forward on the growth path.

Fashion chain Bik Bok was founded in 1973 in Norway and currently employs about 1,500 people in its 200 stores. The annual sales were approximately 144 million euros in 2104, pre-tax profit about 16,9 million euros.
The Varner Group, headquartered in Oslo, operates fashion retailers Dressman, Bik Bok, Carlings and Cubus. The group has a total of twelve retail chains, 10.000 employees and 1.400 stores in eight countries.