First Finland, then Sweden - and now Norway. The time has finally come for Norwegian pet owners to discover the Finnish pet specialty retailer Musti ja Mirri, which is opening four new stores during its first month in the country.
October will be a busy month for Musti ja Mirri, which is expanding its operations into the Norwegian market. The pet specialty retailer, operating under the name “Musti” in Norway, is opening four new stores in Oslo and Drammen, adding to the over 230 stores in Finland and Sweden.
Johan Dettel, Director and Investment Advisor to the EQT Mid Market fund, explains the dynamics behind the move:
“Musti ja Mirri has a strong market position in both Sweden and Finland much thanks to the unique customer experience it offers. The Norwegian market is highly fragmented and we saw that there would be a demand for Musti’s well-established and highly liked retail concept. This was a natural move in Musti ja Mirri’s ambition of becoming the leading pan-Nordic pet specialty retail chain”.
Things have been progressing rapidly for Musti ja Mirri since EQT’s acquisition, and Johan Dettel describes the soon to be two years as very intense. Only a few months after EQT Mid Market had acquired Musti ja Mirri, the company expanded from 130 to 230 stores through the acquisition of the franchisor of the pet specialty chains Arken Zoo and Djurmagazinet in Sweden. The acquisition also included 50 Trimmis grooming salons and the veterinary chain Vettris with 11 clinics. A couple of months later, in late spring 2015, Musti ja Mirri acquired the Finnish online pet food and accessory store, Peten Koiratarvike, to intensify its online retail strategy. To support the Nordic expansion, Musti ja Mirri also opened a new central warehouse in Eskilstuna, Sweden, in 2016.
“An exceptional thing about the move into Norway is that the chain is entering the market organically by opening new stores. It can be compared to Sweden, where the expansion was through acquisition of an existing chain”, says Musti ja Mirri's CEO, Mika Sutinen, who is more than pleased with the Norwegian debut.
“Everyone’s mood at the opening day in Oslo was excellent and the customer feedback we received was very encouraging. Our team really gave it all on the opening day. According to the customers, Musti is exactly what has been missing in Norway”, says Sutinen.
So, what is next for Musti ja Mirri? Johan Dettel points out that there are plenty of opportunities to explore:
“In addition to the Norwegian expansion, we continue to see strong growth opportunities across the Nordic markets. Securing success in Norway, further store expansion in Sweden, as well as executing on opportunities linked to the fast digitalization development, including a further refined omnichannel offering, are the clear priorities. A persistent high focus on service expansion with for example increased grooming and veterinary services offering in the stores coupled with new interesting product launches will also be prioritized development areas.”
Musti ja Mirri’s CEO, Mika Sutinen, sees Norway as the natural next step following the company’s expansion into Sweden:
“We see large business opportunities and room for development here. Our goal is to have opened 45 new stores by the end of 2018. Musti ja Mirri has a long history in the industry and we are now happy to apply our expertise on the Norwegian market”, Sutinen says.