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Finland sees spike in military equipment sales

Sales of items such as first-aid supplies have increased by over a thousand percent.

First aid kits, combat equipment and camping gear are increasing popular products. Image: Matti Myller / Yle

The war in Ukraine has led to a sharp rise in the sales of military and camping equipment in Finland.

Finnish army and outdoor specialty store Varusteleka has reported a sales spike of several tens of percent, with bulletproof vests and helmets already sold out.

"We are selling more now than during Christmas, which is definitely the peak selling season. February–March is usually the quietest period. This has surprised us," Elina Häme, Director of Purchasing at Varusteleka, said.

Sales of first-aid equipment, backpacking food and rations, combat equipment such as bulletproof vests and armour plates, and camping and outdoor clothing have seen the largest uptick.

"For instance, sales of first-aid supplies are rising by thousands of percent," Häme added.

Outdoor retailer Partioaitta has also reportedly sold a record amount of emergency preparedness supplies.

Camping stoves, sleeping bags, water purification equipment and tablets, backpacking food and first-aid kits are currently the most popular items, according to Nina Ehrnrooth, CEO of Partioaitta.

Some products have seen a sales growth of over a hundred percent, with figures more than doubling. Customers have reportedly purchased an exceptionally high amount of water purification equipment and tablets.

"These products have experienced a sales growth of as much as 8,000 percent. But we have to keep in mind that the sales of water purification products are generally relatively low," Ehrnrooth noted.

Shortage of bulletproof vests

Partioaitta said that while it was prepared for the demand for certain items to increase in the near future, it had not expected such a considerable hike in sales. The store has not run out of any products yet, however.

"Availability will certainly decrease if this pace continues, but we have managed to make up for any product shortages so far," Ehrnrooth stated.

Varusteleka also confirmed that products are generally still available; however, the shortage of bulletproof vests and armour plates will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

"We will get a few more pieces, but I don't know what the schedule will be like. I think the vests will be distributed according to customer bookings," Häme explained.

Some of the purchases have reportedly been used to help Ukrainians.

"The store has been visited by people who said that they were going to Ukraine or organising donations to be sent there," said Häme, adding that the purchase of military and camping equipment could also boost emergency preparedness in Finland and help households become better equipped for disasters.

According to Varusteleka, sales have also increased in countries other than Finland. The store currently operates in around a hundred countries, but does not directly deliver goods to countries with ongoing armed conflicts.

"We are unable to deliver to Ukraine due to disrupted supply chains, and we will not send our products to Russia. That is quite obvious," Häme stated.