Stockmann's results up last year

Property sales and improvements at its Lindex chain helped, but sales at the iconic retailer's outlets fell short.

File photo of Stockmann's flagship store in downtown Helsinki. Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

Profits increased thanks to improvements at its Lindex clothing outlets and the sale of Stockmann's properties in Russia.

Finnish department store chain Stockmann announced that its adjusted operating profits for 2018 improved by 16 million euros compared to the previous year.

Stockmann's CEO Lauri Veijalainen said the improvement was chiefly due to successes by its chain of Lindex clothing stores and the sale of Stockmann's properties in Russia.

On Thursday the company posted adjusted operating profits of 28.4 million euros in 2018, which was an improvement over the previous year's results of 12.3 million.

"Lindex managed to grow its market share in its main markets, and its online sales continued to grow well throughout the year. Lindex’s adjusted operating profit almost doubled, due to growth in sales, a better gross margin and cost savings," Veijalainen said in a company press release issued Thursday.

Veijalainen said the improvements were facilitated in part by selling off its Book House property in central Helsinki in May and signing an agreement to sell off its Nevsky Centre shopping centre propery in St. Petersburg, Russia last autumn.

The firm's sale of the Nevsky Centre outlet was finalised last month.

Veijalainen said that Stockmann Group's net debt was decreased by nearly 200 million, "mainly due to the divestment of the Book House and decrease in working capital."

Stockmann's end-of-year results worsened

Veijalainen noted that Stockmann's brick-and-mortar and online retailers did not achieve a positive result, saying that 2018 sales fell short of targets, "to our true disappointment."

The company saw weaker results - some 1.3 percent less - during the final three months of 2018, compared to the year before, with adjusted operating profits shrinking from 24.2 million euros to 23.5 million euros.

"The operating result weakened mostly in the last quarter of the year, despite good growth in online sales in the quarter," Veijalainen said.

The company launched a cost-saving programme earlier this year, aiming to reduce expenses by 20 million euros by the end of 2019.

The majority of those measures will affect the retail division, according to Veijalainen.