Finnish retailer Stockmann has announced a decrease in sales for the first quarter of this year, as a promising start to 2020 turned sour when the effects of the coronavirus pandemic started to hit their business.
During January, February and March, Stockmann’s retail sales fell by 17.6% compared with the year before, to €168.4 million.
The company’s operating losses increased from €20.6 million in the first three months of last year, to €29.4 million in Q1 this year.
As the coronavirus crisis started to deepen in March, Stockmann saw its sales cut in half compared with the year before.
“The unprecedented situation caused by the coronavirus led to an extreme decline in customer volumes and sales after the first week of March and sales declined by 49.1 % in March” says CEO Jari Latvanen.
Latvanen adds that the company made strategic choices a year ago which “have proved to be the right ones” because in January and February – before the coronavirus crisis really hit Finland – company sales were showing modest growth.
“In the current circumstances, our development at the beginning of the year can be interpreted as good”, Lavanen says optimistically.
Stockmann Group is currently going through a corporate restructuring process after filing paperwork at Helsinki District Court in April. That process has to be completed by 11th December.
One of the options being considered is to sell real estate, including the brand’s flagship building in central Helsinki – the largest department store in the Nordic region – then lease it back.