Lars Larsen Group Stories

March 2024

Time well spent: Lars Larsen Group Retail’s top takeaways from the world’s leading retail event

Every year, 40,000 retailers from all over the world gather at ‘retail’s biggest show’, the NRF in New York City. The three-day event combines expos, keynotes, innovation labs, and feature sessions, that highlight the predominant trends and tendencies shaping the retail industry.

The Lars Larsen Group Retail management team attended the event as part of their ongoing focus to stay ahead of industry developments and making that knowledge available to the companies in Lars Larsen Group. Here, Vice President in Lars Larsen Group Retail, Niels Veien, shares his top-5 insights from the event.

1. Build to adapt

“The overriding takeaway from the NRF is that retail in general is undergoing a massive transformation, which is changing shopping habits and customer expectations. To keep up, retailers need to be willing to experiment and be quick to adjust. You have to 'build to adapt' – not just to last.”

2. Lean into AI – now!

“At the NRF two years ago, AI was completely absent from the conversation. This year, it was the dominating topic in 80% of all presentations. Retailers simply must lean into the AI-agenda. For some companies, a structured top-down approach is necessary, while others will benefit from a bottom-up tactic, that allows employees to help drive the agenda.

One of the key areas in retail, which is able to gain the most from AI, is customer service. AI can help elevate customer experiences both online, in physical stores, and in call centres. Customers expect a unique service tailored to them on all platforms because that is what they can get from the biggest players in the market. Living up to these expectations requires enormous attention to data and content that pleases the algorithms.”

3. Stay relevant

“Retailers need to stay close to their consumers. Because we live off being relevant to them. We need to understand them and cater to their unique preferences, for instance through very targeted marketing.

Here, AI plays a vital part as well. AI can be trained to create vast amounts of marketing content that reflects a company’s tone of voice, performs well in terms of SEO, and automatically adjusts to the specific customer.”

4. Time well spent

“Most purchases can made online today. This means that physical stores must be able to deliver something special; something worth showing up for. Customers should experience time in a store as 'time well spent’.

Convenience is an important aspect hereof and, again, AI might be part of the solution. By feeding it data, AI can assist store staff in guiding customers and providing quick, convenient solutions to their challenges.”

5. Build a community

“In relation to customer experiences, an exciting trend is the establishment of physical local communities. Customers increasingly expect retailers to engage more locally and building relationships with your local customers is becoming an important competitive advantage for the physical store.“


Bonus: The Magic words

At the NRF, Niels Veien attended a keynote by the CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, former basketball player, Earvin Johnson Jr., better known as Magic Johnson. Here are some of his messages, which resonated with Niels in relation to retail:

  • Be ambitious and make an effort.
  • "It's all about numbers." Set goals, pursue them, and make sure they are measurable and concrete, otherwise they become a blur.
  • Reach out to people and ask for their advice.
  • Surround yourself with the right team.
  • It is hard to become no. 1, but it is even harder to stay no. 1., which brings us back to the first bullet…

June 2023

Investing in the energy transition

Drought, flooding, extreme weather conditions, and rising temperatures resulting in humanitarian crises and endangered ecosystems. The serious consequences of climate change and global warming are very tangible and demonstrate the need for alternative, long-term energy solutions.

When it comes to climate change and the need for more sustainable solutions, Lars Larsen Group strongly believes that a green energy transition plays a vital part and will contribute to bring us closer to the EU goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Lars Larsen Group wishes to be an active part of the solution. Because as an investor, Lars Larsen Group does not see a trade-off between investing responsibly and the ability to create attractive returns - quite the contrary: The most attractive investment opportunities will be those that take part in solving the challenges we face as a society today.

To push the energy transition, Lars Larsen Group believes investments will have to be made within both mature and unproven (at scale) technologies. Through Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), Lars Larsen Group has committed more than DKK 1.5bn earmarked towards the energy transition focusing on both mature and unproven (at scale) technologies.

An example of unproven (at scale) technology is Power-to-X (PtX). PtX simply means converting power into something else. In relation to the energy transition, PtX typically involves converting power into hydrogen and hydrogen-based products which can be used for fossil free fuel, fertilizer, and steel production, helping to decarbonize the non-power sectors.

Project HØST PtX Esbjerg is one of the projects Lars Larsen Group has invested in through CIP. It is expected to produce an estimated 600,000t of green ammonia per year. This will be used as raw material for fertilizer production and as green fuel for shipping resulting in a 1,500,000t yearly reduction in CO2e.

The facility will be operated using electricity from renewable energy sources exclusively. In addition, the local utility company will take excess heat from the facility equivalent to CO2-free heating of 15,000 households.

While projects like HØST PtX Esbjerg come with immense potential they are also extremely comprehensive and therefore considered a very long-term investment. The facility is expected to be ready for initialization in 2028/29 and will be among the first large-scale PtX plants in Europe.

December 2022

Expanding the Head Office of Lars Larsen Group and JYSK

Sødalsparken in Brabrand is the address of Lars Larsen Group and JYSK’s head office currently housing no less than 551 employees. Two additional buildings have been built next to the three others, and the head office now covers 21,091 square metres. It is a result hereof that JYSK and Lars Larsen Group can now share their head office without limitations. The plan and process for the constructions are initiated by Lars Larsen Group Real Estate and led by Morten Ellegaard. Three years ago, he entered the position as Head of Real Estate in Lars Larsen Group, coming from a position in another Lars Larsen Group company, ILVA.

If you stand in front of the head office, all five buildings look identical. And yes, that has been the purpose from the beginning; no other alternatives were considered in terms of the expression of the buildings. However, if you get closer, take a walk inside, and study the details a bit further, you will notice that the newest two buildings are slightly different, yet in a positive way. The meeting rooms are now completely soundproof, and so are the one-man offices. Also the canteen has been through a comprehensive renovation, where the focus has been to optimise the flow on both sides of the counter and to make it feel more spacious. Another astonishing addition to the construction is the auditorium. With room for up to 700 people, the auditorium is the most noticeable change inside the new buildings.

A topic that has been discussed during the entire process is how the construction work could contain more sustainable elements. The most visible element is the sedum-covered roof between the main buildings. Not only is it a practical solution; it is also a joy for the eye. Since the construction of the first building at Sødalsparken, many things have happened in relation to knowledge about more sustainable construction work. “Our knowledge and opportunities within more sustainable construction are constantly growing. Even though it's a challenge to stay updated on everchanging regulations, we do our best to ensure a more sustainable approach. One thing is for sure: Lars Larsen Group Real Estate is not standing still; we're moving forwards”, Morten Ellegaard says.

The construction process was not without challenges; actually, Lars Larsen Group Real Estate has faced too many challenges, if you ask Morten Ellegaard: “When the construction workers started digging, they noticed that the water pressure was higher than what the readings showed. Therefore, we had to add between 70 and 80 ground anchors to keep the concrete block heavy enough to stand against the water pressure. That delayed our process with 6 months.” The additional buildings have not only increased the number of offices and meeting rooms for employees. The additional space also becomes evident when step count is checked at the end of the day.

October 2021

Using the past to shape the future

As the umbrella organisation several companies, the direction set by Lars Larsen Group affects more than 35,000 employees and their families across multiple countries. A responsibility that is not taken lightly, and to live up to it, Lars Larsen Group has defined a set of family values that must be reflected in every decision made in the organisation: Tradesmanship, responsibility, and growth.

Along with the establishment of the new organisation 1 February 2020, the decision was made to write down the most important values. It did not take long for the owner family to agree on three values: "We sat down together to define a common vision for Lars Larsen Group going forward. Once that was in place, the values pretty much defined themselves," Jacob Brunsborg, Chairman of the Board, Lars Larsen Group, explains and continues, "Tradesmanship is a key part of my father’s legacy. It was a backbone in his way of doing business and part of our DNA so of course that had to be part of our values – to honour him and to maintain what defines us as a group. The same goes for responsibility: As the second generation, we have been given this opportunity to carry on a legacy, and we want to do that in a way that is respectful to the communities we operate in as well as to our planet. That is why responsibility had to be one of our main values as well."

To Jesper Lund, President and CEO of Lars Larsen Group, the third value, growth, was just as inevitable as the first two: “Growth is a requisite for achieving our goals in all the businesses we own. If you are not growing, you are stalling, and in order to ensure the resilience to overcome any challenges the future may bring for our companies, it is essential for us to keep on growing. Aside from that, growth is closely tied to responsibility. It is not just about growing our businesses, it is also about contributing to growth in the societies we operate in."

Looking back at the way Lars Larsen Group has operated previous to the definition of these values, the values may not seem to have changed much. But to Jesper Lund, that is not a bad thing: “The values ended up close to the starting point, but we did not just write down what we were already doing. It was important for us that the group values express the ideals and ambitions of the second and third generation of owners; and so we tossed everything up in the air and let the second generation decide where it landed, with input from the third generation. And the fact that it landed so close to where we started just shows us that we were, and still are, headed in the right direction."

December 2020

Lars Larsen Group spreads its wings

Over the last year, numerous new initiatives have been added to the growth story of Lars Larsen Group. Now, the time has come for a relaunch of the Group's website. When winds of change blow, strong roots and solid family values come to be a great match with windsurfing skills.

The new website introduces Lars Larsen Group, formerly known as JYSK Holding, with a mix of business facts, key figures, news and stories from the Group and its business areas. Chairman of the Board, Jacob Brunsborg has been a driving force behind previous as well as current investments and initiatives in Lars Larsen Group. "Lars Larsen Group is based on our shared family values: tradesmanship, responsibility and growth. The new website provides insight into how these values are at the heart of everything we do. Also, it allows us to send a signal that Lars Larsen Group is more than JYSK. JYSK is the backbone and the reason we are able to grow and invest, but Lars Larsen Group consists of several companies and investments that are all important," says Jacob Brunsborg.

The new initiatives in Lars Larsen Group have come to life through a close cooperation between Jacob Brunsborg, the Board and Jesper Lund, President and CEO at Lars Larsen Group. "With the new website, we want to open up and increase the awareness of Lars Larsen Group. To provide insight and show the volume and diversity of the business areas. To show the growth and development in our portfolio as well as new initiatives within sustainability. And most importantly, to demonstrate that even though we are renewing and rethinking, our roots and values as a family-owned business are strong. A handshake with Lars Larsen Group is still a handshake," says Jesper Lund.

And the windsurfing skills? They are brought to the table by Jesper Lund, who used to practice windsurfing in his younger days. Nowadays, the surfboard on the windy and wavy ocean has been exchanged with work on the executive board of Lars Larsen Group. And catching the next perfect wave relies less on weather and luck and more on the skillful, carefully chosen organisation that shapes Lars Larsen Group