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Friday's papers: Helsinki retail woes, savings advice and warmer November

How can Helsinki city centre be revived? 

Shoppers are becoming a rare sight in parts of Helsinki city centre. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Business owners in central Helsinki have long complained that the city centre is becoming increasingly less attractive as a place to do business. 

On Friday Helsingin Sanomat carries a report (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on their complaints, with barbers and retailers united in their view: downtown is not as busy as it used to be. 

An opinion piece carried figures (siirryt toiseen palveluun) to back up their opinions, noting that 10 percent of commercial premises are now vacant, and turnover of businesses is down some 20-30 percent compared to 2019.

The issues are familiar. Remote work is now much more common, and consumption habits developed during the pandemic are hard to change. That means more online shopping and greater use of hypermarkets that sell everything from groceries to children's clothes and electronics. 

Russian tourists have all but disappeared from the streets of the capital as well, after the war and border regime clampdowns. 

While entrepreneurs suggest more free parking spaces as a possible solution, HS says the city must reinvent the role of its central business district. 

People are now looking for experiences and services, rather than just shopping, according to the paper. That means making the city centre more enjoyable and one option is expanding the amount of pedestrianised space in the city centre.

Savings advice

With uncertainty in the economic situation comes some concern about savings. How much should be set aside for a rainy day?

Ilta-Sanomat has an article (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on savings best practice, with advice on how much people should aim to have set aside. 

Hannu Nummiaro from the Lähi-Tapiola insurance firm says that firstly, an emergency fund of 1-2,000 euros is good to have in case, for example, an appliance breaks down. 

Then people should aim to have 2-3 months' worth of income on hand, just in case. That should be kept in a savings account or an easily accessible and low-risk investment product, according to Nummiaro.

Once those are sorted, he suggests people look to start investing in shares or other higher-yield assets in order to build up a cushion for retirement. 

Exceptional November

This year has seen much warmer than normal conditions in the autumn, and that is set to continue, according to Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

The paper has a look at the forecast for the weekend, which shows temperatures of 10-14 degrees Celsius in the south on Saturday.

In Finnish weather records that's exceptional. Temperatures of 13 degrees or above during November have been recorded only four times, in 1999, 2015, 2020 and 2021. 

The all-time record was set on 6 November 2020 in Jomala, Åland, when the mercury hit 16.6 degrees. 

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