SwedenOne of Europe’s most northerly states, Sweden is one of the most affluent nations in Europe and the largest retail market in Scandinavia.  Sweden has traditionally enjoyed high living standards and this is reflected in the high level of car ownership and consumer durables. Swedish shoppers are enthusiastic about trying new products and they are often used as a test market for brands.

The retail market is mature and vibrant, with most sectors home to several chains of significant size. The country has brought some familiar names into the international retail arena. IKEA is one of the largest furniture retailers in Europe while H&M has achieved international success in the fashion sector.

In the past the Scandinavian countries have not attracted a great deal of foreign investment from retailers due to their geographical location and high operating costs. However, this has begun to change with increased cooperation between the Scandinavian countries and the potential for these markets to act as a gateway to Eastern Europe and Russia.  Foreign retailers continue to dictate activity as they seek to establish a presence in the market, with prime locations of particular interest. There is, however, a distinct shortage of quality high street space holding back leasing activity, with rents and premiums paid still high.

Tourism is Sweden’s fastest growing sector, offering the Arctic wilderness of the far north, ultra-cool urban fashion shows in the cities and five-star culinary adventures all over the country.


ECONOMIC INDICATORS*2009201020112012F2013F
GDP growth -
Consumer spending -
Industrial production -
Investment -
Unemployment rate (%)
Inflation -
Skr/€ (average)10.629.559.038.969.04
Skr/US$ (average)7.667.206.497.077.05
Interest rates 3-month (%)
Interest rates 10-year (%)

NOTE: *annual % growth rate unless otherwise indicated. E estimate F forecast
Source: Oxford Economics Ltd. and Consensus Economics Inc

Population 9.4 million (2010)
GDPUS$538.8 billion (2011)
Public sector balance -0.04% of GDP (2011)
Parliament Centre-right Coalition (Moderate Party, Centre Party, Liberal Party, Christian Democrat Party)
Head of StateKing Carl XVI Gustaf
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt
Election datesSeptember 2014 (parliamentary)
Retail Volume1.37%3.27%1.26%1.51%2.90%
Retail Value2.66%3.52%0.92%2.56%4.87%

Source: Oxford Economics Ltd. and Consensus Economics Inc


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Stockholm: 59.328930, 18.064910
Göteborg: 57.708870, 11.974560
Malmö: 55.604981, 13.003822
Uppsala: 59.858564, 17.638927
Linköping: 58.410807, 15.621373
Västerås: 59.609900, 16.544809
Örebro: 59.275263, 15.213411
Norrköping: 58.587745, 16.192421



ICA, Coop, Hemköp




Åhlens, H&M, Stadium, Gina Tricot, Lindex, KappAhl, Ikea


Zara, Mango, Mediamarkt, Hollister, Desigual, Esprit, Varner Gruppen, Bestseller, Apple

Food & Beverage Operators

Espresso House, McDonalds, Burger King, Wagamama, Pizza Hut, Waynes Coffee


The Swedish market is a growing potential market with much above average retail spend per capita. The consumers are trend-sensitive and early adapters and it makes Stockholm a popular test market for global brands and the city is known as the fashion capital of Scandinavia with a lot of design brands represented.

There is a considerably supply of retail space on the Swedish market total retail stock amounts to approx. 18 million sq m including shopping centers, retail parks and high street premises. Equating to 402 sq.m GLA per 1,000 people, compared to the EU average of 231 sq m, only Norway has a higher figure of retail space per capita in Europe. However, while there is plenty of shopping center space, high street locations are limited, particularly in the capital and the tight supply of good quality space is helping to support rental values and the level of expected key money.

Most major Swedish cities have at least one retail park.  Ikea dominates the out of town market along with foreign players such as Bauhaus and Media Markt.

The factory outlet centre market is immature and only a few schemes have opened including Arlandastad Outlet Village and Freeport Designer Factory Outlet.

Sweden is well developed in the retail market. The market is active and has seen an increasing number of retailers entering the market over recent years.

E-commerce has developed rapidly recently, the main contributing factors are the high level of internet penetration, high levels of credit and debit card usage, long distances and rising levels of confidence in security.

It is possible to enter the Swedish retail market direct, though many also franchise and enter via concessions/shop-in-shops.

There are no restrictions on foreign companies either buying or renting property in Sweden.  It is generally believed that the Swedish lease structure is more orientated toward tenant than landlord. The tenancy security is strong and the tenant has right to renewal at the lease end.

Although it is possible to occupy a new building within a few weeks, it is more realistic to expect that on average it will take 6-9 months from initializing the property search to taking occupation of an existing property.  This includes time for considering location options, the identification of buildings or sites, negotiating leasehold or freehold terms and drafting of the appropriate legal documentation.


New Entrants to the Market

AsicsBurberryPolo Ralph LaurenClub MonacoHollister

Lease TermsNormally 3 or 5 years, but can be longer and this applies to all sectors. However, lease terms sometimes longer during the first term, in particular if the let area is large. Leases quoted in SKr per sq m per year. No break options on short leases, but more common on those of over 5 years.
Rental PaymentQuarterly in advance or sometimes monthly in advance. A turnover indexation may be applied, and this is becoming more commonplace, especially for anchor tenants in shopping centres. A security deposit of up to 6 months rent is required. Premiums are commonplace in the retail sector. Premiums/key money payable in practice only for prime high street retail pitches.
Rent ReviewRents are usually indexed according to the Consumer Price Index (KPI). Commercial leases are automatically renewed at the end of the lease term (usually 3 or 5 years at a time). Following the termination of a commercial lease by the landlord, the tenant is entitled to compensation, unless the landlord can provide other premises for lease or certain other circumstances (such as the tenant's misconduct) are at hand. Therefore, the Tenant always has a so called “indirect” security of tenure. Effectively there is no review within Swedish leases. The lease will generally contain an annual index linked clause, but at no time during the term of the lease does a rent review take place. The rent is reviewed to market rent at the end of the lease by negotiation with the landlord and tenant.
Service Charges, Repairs and Insurance Both internal and external repairs are usually covered by the tenant’s rent. Normally, other than charges for heating & cooling, there are no extra service charges in Swedish commercial leases, apart from in shopping centres. Insurance is always covered by the landlord, only the tenants own insurance to be paid by the tenant.
Property Taxes and other costs National Government tax ‘Fastighetsskatt’ is paid at the start of a lease and then every year. It is based on a percentage of the freehold taxable value calculated by the local authority. This is billed to the landlord, who then charges it back to the tenant, based on a floor area occupied ratio basis. This tax will usually amount to around 10% of the annual rent. VAT of 25% payable on rent.
Disposal of a LeaseAssignment/Sub-letting is allowed according to Swedish law. Early termination only by break clause. The tenant normally has to leave the premises in the same conditions as it were when they took possession.
Valuation MethodsFloor space is measured basically on a ‘gross internal area’ basis, however, some differences to RICS standards. Refer to SS 021053 Svensk Standard, SIS Swedish Institute for Standards Authority. No standard practice of zoning.
LegislationRefer to Swedish Law, Hyreslagen, Jordabalken. The majority of landlords use the standard lease that was developed by the Swedish Owner’s Association. The lease contract is legally binding.