Fresks is a building material retailer with head office in Östersund, Sweden, mainly targeting local, small and midsized professional customers. Fresks combine a local presence with relevant product expertise and a tailored service and delivery model. In 2016, the main owner, the Oscarsson family was looking for a partner to support building Fresks into a leading national builder’s merchant.
Fresks’ management was dedicated to a sales and service-driven culture and had shown they could successfully add stores to their network. By acquiring local building material stores, allowing for the entrepreneurs to remain in the business and co-invest in the group, Fresks could support further development of these entities while also realising scale advantages primarily within purchasing. Litorina saw great potential in supporting Fresks on this win-win journey.
Value creation initiatives.
Setting the foundation
In order to build the foundation for future volume and store growth, we needed to strengthen the team to manage the increased size of the group. This included adding relevant board advisors and additional resources to the head office, such as a new sourcing manager, CFO, IT manager and regional sales manager. Altogether, this enabled Fresks to handle the integration of several add-ons and realize planned synergies.
Many local builder’s merchants wanted to become a part of the Fresks group, which resulted in Fresks being able to grow from 12 stores when Litorina entered into the partnership to 33 stores within three years. A total of ten acquisitions were made plus two greenfield openings. At the same time, Fresks’ customer-centric business model enabled the company to achieve solid sales growth in its existing stores.
Three main operational initiatives were initiated to drive increased profitability in the group. Firstly, a project was started to harmonize the assortment to enable better leverage towards suppliers. Secondly, the purchasing team was able to leverage the increased scale in the group to lower purchasing prices. Finally, the team made a successful implementation of a pricing project. These initiatives altogether helped Fresks increase gross margins by 1% unit in three years.