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Marimekko chain growing fast in Asia, North America

For the first time in its 61-year history, the design firm Marimekko has sold more abroad than at home in Finland.

Marimekko - 60 vuotta väriä, raitaa ja muotoja -näyttely Etelä-Karjalan museossa Lappeenrannassa.
Marimekko first grabbed international attention in the 1950s and '60s. Image: YLE

Despite this, the textile company reported a loss for the first half of the year. However, Marimekko typically scores most of its sales and profits towards the end of the year.

Marimekko says that turnover is rising briskly and promises to double its operating profits this year compared with last.

It made an operating loss of 545 million euros in the second quarter, compared with a loss of nearly 800 million a year earlier.

CEO Mika Ihamuotila is confident that the venerable firm's internationalisation strategy is paying off.

The company now has 94 shops, with 51 of them abroad. It plans to open about 20 more by year's end, mostly in Asia and the United States.

"We opened our first store in China in May, and we already have 22 in Japan, so that's the area where we'll continue our efforts. But there's also the US. A few days ago we opened a store in Boston and in the next few months we'll open ones in Beverly Hills, Silicon Valley and other places in the States," Ihamuotila told Yle.

Earlier this summer, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made what she called a "pilgrimage" to Marimekko headquarters in Helsinki.

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