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Stockmann sales continue to dip

The CEO of the Stockmann chain of high-end department stores in Finland says the Stockmann Group looks likely to post a slight operating profit for 2016, despite the ongoing sales slump.

Under the clock: the Stockmann department store in Helsinki is a national landmark. Image: Jarno Kuusinen / AOP

Finland's premier department store chain Stockmann is still reporting deteriorating sales, despite efforts to focus on core operations.

The latest figures show that sales fell by 5.3 percent in 2016 from the previous year. Total sales numbered at some 1.17 billion euros.

CEO Lauri Veijalainen predicts that the Stockmann Group will nevertheless achieve a slightly positive operating result for last year, after two loss-making years.

"In 2016, we focused on improving Stockmann’s profitability," the CEO says. "The Christmas trade was most successful in our Baltic department stores, where the fashion sales generated very good growth. As a whole, the Christmas trade was down compared with the previous year, but this sales development, together with the significant cost savings made, are sufficient to reach our profit guidance."

In December, Stockmann's sales fell by a total of 8.8 percent. The largest dip was seen in the Oulu store, which is set to be closed down this month.