After Norrøna, Helly Hansen and Bergans, Haglöfs confirmed that it was putting an end to its centralized distribution deal with Gresvig, the leading sports buying group in Norway with the G-Sport, Intersport and G-Max banners.

Instead, the Swedish outdoor brand will tighten its relationship with Gresvig members who have a strong focus on outdoor products, and from the second half of next year it will start working with XXL, the fast-expanding rival of Gresvig.

The end of its deal with Haglöfs is another blow for Gresvig, which had been partly relying on its tight relationship with the Swedish brand, recently acquired by Asics, to make up for diminished supplies from other leading outdoor brands in the country.

XXL, which has 15 large-scale stores in Norway, describes its new partnership with Haglöfs as another validation of its strategy to focus almost entirely on external brands and to offer them proper space and marketing support. The aggressive Norwegian retailer said that brands were also drawn by its Nordic development strategy (see previous article).

The strategic decision at Haglöfs badly weakens a relationship that had been particularly tight. Until 2008, Gresvig even had an exclusive agreement to sell Haglöfs in Norway. This arrangement came to an end in 2009 but Gresvig still accounted for more than half of the Swedish brand's sales in Norway this year.

Haglöfs does not expect any sales decrease from its new distribution strategy. The Swedish brand expects to reach sales of about 75 million Norwegian kroner (€9.7m-$12.7m) in the country this year, up by about 25 percent compared with 2010, and it expects a modest increase for 2012.