December 6, 2017 / 6:58 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 2-Clas Ohlson shares plunge on weak results, says to halt Nordic store expansion

(Adds CEO comments, shares, background details)

Dec 6 (Reuters) - Swedish retailer Clas Ohlson on Wednesday reported weaker than expected quarterly earnings and said it would halt its normal store expansion in the Nordics, sending shares to their lowest level in more than three years.

* Q2 ‍(Aug-Oct) operating profit 125 mln SEK vs mean analyst forecast 134 mln in Reuters poll

* November sales flat in local currency yr/yr vs mean forecast for a 1.2 pct rise

* Clas Ohlson says regarding the Nordic markets: “we have decided to focus on testing new store formats instead of continuing to open current form of stores”, will also review and optimise store locations

* Changes come in light of ongoing change in consumer behavior and weak sales development​

* Clas Ohlson shares drop as much as 15 pct, hitting the lowest level since 2014

* Under new CEO Lotta Lyra, at the helm of Clas Ohlson since August, the company has been working on a strategic review

* Clas Ohlson shares have been weak in recent months and are now down around 31 pct since the end of July

* Says evaluating number of different business models for supplementing our current business

* Evaluation could mean stepping into new business segments or exiting segments, moving further into the service sector, and setting up strategic partnerships, Lyra told a press conference

* Lyra says does not exclude store closures, but says “store network, used in the right way, from a logistics perspective, is a big asset”

* The company will present and launch its strategic plan in full during the spring​ ($1 = 8.3747 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom, Editing by Helena Soderpalm)

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