EQT V acquired XXL in 2010. XXL was a local “category killer” within sports retail in Norway, with 14 stores and a limited online operation. As per Q2 2015, XXL operated 23 stores in Norway, 18 stores in Sweden and 6 stores in Finland, with online presence in all countries. XXL’s concept includes large stores offering mainly branded goods at high value for money.
A key aspect of XXL’s development has been the organic expansion outside Norway. The company quickly gained both market share and recognition when entering Sweden and Finland. As an example, XXL was awarded “One of the 10 most recommended brands by consumers” in Sweden in 2012, just two years after entry.
In addition, XXL maintained strong like-for-like and store network growth in Norway and was the market leader with 25% market share at EQT V’s exit. EQT V worked closely with the founder Øivind Tidemandsen in supporting the development of XXL, who remained Chairman throughout the ownership period.
XXL had an average annual sales increase of 27%, with corresponding EBITDA growth of 21% per annum during EQT V’s ownership. The number of employees (full time equivalents) increased by more than 30% per annum.
On October 3, 2014, XXL was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange at NOK 58 per share with strong development in the aftermarket. Based on trading performance and the company’s investment story, EQT V’s was able to sell its remaining holding in two subsequent sell-downs (May and September 2015), at NOK 80 and NOK 83 per share respectively. Øivind Tidemandsen remained the largest shareholder after the IPO and EQT’s exit.
Key events since EQT's ownership
- Opening 9 stores in Norway - number one position with 25% market share
- Successful expansion in Sweden (2010) opening 18 stores and Finland (2014) opening 6 stores – local market shares of 9% and 4% respectively
- Optimizing logistics function with two new central warehouses
- Improving the online operation through back-end integration with central warehouses and omni-channel initiatives, growing online from 2% to 6 % of sales
- Expanding margins in all divisions through increased scale and focused management
- IPO on Oslo Stock Exchange in October 2014