It’s 1953 and there’s a long line of people waiting outside Per-Olof Ahl’s newly opened clothing store. At the same time, envious competitors want to boycott the store.


Per-Olof opens his first store in 1953 in Gothenburg, Sweden. It offers something that was not obvious in those days... the chance for all women to find a reasonably priced coat, whatever their body size. His idea proved to be an instant success!

He changes the name of his store to Kapp-Ahl, the nickname that he has gained and which means “Coat Ahl”. Conductors on the Gothenburg trams start calling out “Change to line Kapp-Ahl” and “Next stop, Kapp-Ahl” over the loudspeakers. It’s where everyone is heading anyway. 

Per-Olof Ahl, Kappahl's founder, in front of the first store in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The line of customers waiting to get into Per-Olof Ahl’s small clothing store in Gothenburg rapidly grows long. There are even organised long-distance coach trips to the store.

Angry rivals and covert shipments

It seems like Per-Olof’s success will be short-lived however. Rival stores are worried and annoyed by his low prices and they join forces to talk suppliers into boycotting his store.

Coats have to be transported in unlabelled boxes and unloaded on roads hidden away in forests. Many others want to hop on the bandwagon of the successful concept, and companies such as Kapp-Tage and Milk-Ahl start to appear.

Per-Olof tackles all the challenges as they arise, however, and the customers love Kapp-Ahl and continue to grow in number. He emerges victorious from the fray and has opened 25 stores across Sweden just ten years after starting his business.

Per-Olof Ahl and his colleagues serves Coca-Cola.

On hot days, Per-Olof Ahl and his staff provide the customers who are waiting in line outside his store with ice-cold soft drinks.

One of the leading fashion chains in the Nordics

Today, 70 years down the line, we are one of the leading fashion chains in the Nordic region and are actively gaining ground in Europe and the online market.

Although we have expanded and evolved greatly, we are proud to still have the motto of our founder Per-Olof Ahl as the guiding principle for everything we do.

“We will give many people the opportunity to be well dressed.”

Per-Olof Ahl, founder of Kappahl

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