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Oslo emerges from the shadows as the new luxury retail hub of the Nordic countries

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It’s a little tough being the new kid on the block at 225 years of age, but Oslo’s venerable Steen & Strøm department store might just be the fresh prince stirring up the Norwegian capital’s awakening.

In an era of well-being, well-being and a desire for calm and tranquility, Oslo’s vibrant new waterfronts, huge new National Museum, impressive Munch Museum, opera house and library are spearheading a cultural renaissance that is being matched. through a thriving upscale retail neighborhood.

To be honest, opening any one of these cultural and arts centers individually would be a big deal, so opening so many in such a short amount of time should literally transform the perception of the city as a tourist attraction and bring it out of the shadows of nearby Stockholm and Copenhagen. .

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And few capitals have a dizzying ski slope as a backdrop, or fjord water clean enough for a morning dip among the waterside bars and restaurants.

So far so idyllic, as long as you overlook the staggering price of a beer! But Oslo’s luxury retail offering has also been catching up after being often overlooked by major brands in their search for the emerging megamarkets of the East or the established fashion citadels of Europe.

But that, too, could be about to change.

Oslo Luxury Neighborhood Curator

Owner Promenaden’s careful property management of a couple of city blocks in the commercial heart of Oslo, anchored by Steen & Strøm, has also revolutionized the city’s luxury retail offering and in doing so has attracted not only international tourists flocking to the city’s attractions, but also wealthy local shoppers.

Norwegian consumers, it seems, have a new charm for luxury.

Pride of honor right now goes to Louis Vuitton which, having moved the store location for the second time, now occupies a substantial corner parcel of around 1,000 square feet, two floors on Nedre Slottsgate, the luxury high street. Oslo premium within the Promenaden fashion district. Dior will be joining soon, while Hermes, Burberry and Gucci are among those already there.

At the center of this emerging luxury offering is Steen & Strøm which, under the banner of ‘The Original Influencer since 1797’, has marked its 225th year with a serious $36 million refurbishment that forms the first part of an overhaul complete and much needed. .

Promenaden’s investment includes a relocated main entrance to Karl Johans Gate, Norway’s busiest shopping street, a completely renovated beauty salon and a new exclusive atrium. The ground-floor food hall and several areas of the trendy offering on the upper floors have also been upgraded, with plans underway for what will eventually be a top-to-bottom transformation of a venerable institution.

To lead the change, Steen & Strøm has poached department store veteran David Wilkinson, probably best known for his UK work with Harrods and Selfridges and one of an increasingly rare breed of blood retail executive.

Its task is to attract and mix long-term luxury brands and new luxury designers, while encouraging international brands to engage with a market that is often seen as too small to be worth the investment. And he is convinced that he does not want to imitate the work done in two of the most iconic department stores in the world; instead, the goal is for Steen & Strøm to remain the “Oslo store”.

Showcasing the store and work to date, he said: “Our aim is to transform the store into two main building blocks, becoming a one-stop destination for contemporary fashion and creating a home and lifestyle hub with an interesting mix. of brands. What we’ve done with the salon is a template for where we want to take the whole store.”

Emerging Norwegian fashion market

Steen & Strøm also wants to be part of an emerging Norwegian fashion scene. A partnership with SoFi, the Oslo Fashion Industry School, and its first capsule collection are part of its efforts to champion Norwegian creative talent in fragrance and fashion. Oslo Runway, the Norwegian Fashion Week, which takes place from August 13 to 19, will also highlight innovations in sustainable fashion.

Chief Marketing Officer Kaia Kongsli said the retailer is “on a mission” to tell the story of Norway’s fashion designers and “young talents”, leveraging the brand strength of sportswear and outerwear brands. from Norway.

“I think there has been a lack of confidence in the Norwegian fashion market about promoting our own talent and skills, especially compared to Denmark,” said Kongsli. “Perhaps Norway has been the underdog in Scandinavian luxury and fashion. It’s time to change that.”

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