Last year Gekås Ullared served around four million customers, selling 13 million pairs of socks, 600,000 CDs, half a million Santas, 40 million pastries, 12 million packs of baking paper and 2,000 tonnes of sweets. Each year, Swedes, Norwegians, Danes and even North Germans head for the 20,000-square-metre shopping centre in the small town of Ullared in southern Sweden. It is quite common here for the traffic news to report record queues on the roads leading to Ullared. "If someone says Ullared, they automatically mean Gekås," explains Boris Lennerhov, Managing Director at Gekås Ullared. Customers stream to Ullared, especially in summer when the Scandinavians are on holiday. Queues at the entrances are not unusual. Just like on 23 July 2008, the day which saw the most visitors and the highest sales volume in the history of Gekås Ullared to date: 26,200 customers generated sales of 20.7 million Swedish krona (about 2 million euros). Boris Lennerhov says: "Many of our customers come from up to 200 kilometres away." Once they have arrived, of course they naturally go on something of a shopping spree: the average customer spend is 3,000 Swedish krona, about 260 euros. In the high season, Gekås Ullared sells goods worth 33,000 Swedish Crowns (almost 3,000 euros) per minute. That's why there are trucks delivering ordered goods that arrive in ten-minute intervals. "Without this constant stream of supplies, our customers would buy up the whole store in less than two days during the high season between April and Christmas."
3,000 buses full of customers come to Ullared each year too. There are 2,200 parking spaces available for the cars and that figure has increased by another 800 spaces. The shopping centre itself was also expanded by 5,000 square metres in mid-2010.
a huge choice of food and non-food items, numerous brand-name products and consistently low prices. Gekås Ullared buys its goods directly from industry, without a middleman, and in large quantities, which keeps prices low. It also avoids classic advertising methods, such as television, radio and the newspapers. Instead, Gekås Ullared relies on its customers' personal experiences, on the resulting word-of-mouth recommendations and the customer newsletter 'Gekås Ullared Extra'. "Customers trust us. They get good deals. We get good deals. It's that simple at Gekås Ullared," explains Managing Director Boris Lennerhov happily. So that people can shop seven days a week, Gekås Ullared introduced Sunday opening in 2008. "A resounding success – the shopping experience is more relaxed and the stream of visitor is better distributed." So, now too from the beginning of March until Christmas, you can simply postpone your family shopping trip to Sunday.
"The customers get good deals.
We get good deals."
BORIS LENNERHOV, Managing Director at Gekås Ullared
Göran Karlsson founded Gekås in 1963 as a small warehouse, measuring 30 square metres. Over the following 28 years, he established the business as Scandinavia's biggest shopping centre. In 1991, he handed the company over to six of his closest co-workers. Since 2004, Torbjörn Bäck and Thomas Karlsson, both trained by Gekås founder Göran Karlsson, have owned the shopping centre; to this day, they still follow their former boss' motto to the letter: "Do what you say in the way that you say you will". This is exactly why Gekås has been so successful for so many decades. The customers trust the company. Boris Lennerhov has been the Managing Director at Gekås since 2000. In 2003, Gekås had Ullared, the name of the town and home of Gekås, protected and renamed the company as Gekås Ullared.
Go shopping and take a holiday – is that possible? It is at Gekås Ullared! Gekås Ullared has also now grown into a busy tourist destination with adventure mini golf, saunas and hot tubs, a barbecue area, canoeing and a perfect sandy beach for bathing in the summer. There is a range of cheap and convenient accommodation – motels, holiday apartments, holiday houses, caravans or tents. However, if you are interested, make sure you book early because the overnight capacity of 800 beds tends to be fully booked between March and Christmas. Nevertheless, no fewer than 214,000 people stayed overnight at Gekås Ullared last year. Even the camp-site is one of the most popular in the whole of Sweden in terms of the number of bookings. All of this is, of course, just a stone's throw away from the shopping centre.