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Stockmann sells Hobby Hall to domestic buyer

Retail giant Stockmann's performance improved slightly this year compared with last year. The struggling company has previously sold off its clothing department store chain Seppälä, and now announces it is selling its Hobby Hall online store to SGN Group.

The facade of the Stockmann flagship department store in Helsinki. Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

Finnish retail conglomerate Stockmann says it has signed an agreement to sell its Hobby Hall online store to the domestic SGN Group. The sale is to occur at the end of the year, the company says in its stock market release.

Stockmann has been searching for a buyer for its to-order retail service since 2014. The company has not disclosed the sum of the sale, but experts say that the price will not impact Stockmann's financial performance.

The sales and support staff of all of Hobby Hall's locations will be transferred as old employees to SGN Group. Stockmann has also agreed to transfer Hobby Hall logistics to national post office Posti starting in May. All the old Hobby Hall warehouse employees will move over to Posti.

Hobby Hall employed some 340 people at the end of 2015, of whom 130 were warehouse workers.

Bumpy recent history, slight uptick

Stockmann's annual turnover has been patchy in previous years, and it has sold off its subsidiaries including the Academic Bookstore and the Seppälä clothing retail chain.

The company announced on Thursday that its first quarter turnover saw an uptick in relation to its results in 2015.

But Stockmann is still treading water, with 30 million euros in the red compared with 42 million early last year.

Stockmann estimates its performance to be "somewhat positive" in 2016 due to strategic measures.

EDIT 29.4.16: The first line of the standfirst of this article incorrectly said Stockmann's performance improved last year. This has been corrected to "this year".