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Monday’s papers: Store wars, Finnish child at al-Hol, and a mega daycare

The Finnish press today reports on stories from Helsinki and Syria.

Triplan avajaiset.
Helsinki's newest shopping centre Tripla opened less than a month ago and has already seen more than two million visitors. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Helsingin Sanomat (HS) leads with an investigation and some number-crunching on what’s needed for Greater Helsinki’s new mega malls to succeed.

According to the experts interviewed by HS there is an oversupply of shopping centres in Greater Helsinki.

The evidence for that claim is the recent opening of Mall of Tripla in Pasila, which joins Redi in Kalasatama and Aino in Tapiola, alongside an expansion of Iso Omena shopping centre in Espoo.

HS doubts there will be enough customers for all the new centres to succeed.

“For all of the area’s shopping centres to succeed, Tripla and the other new malls need to find new customers who will spend about one billion euros annually,” leading retail expert Henrik Winberg tells HS.

Pasila’s Tripla, which opened in October, has about 250 shops and 85,000 square metres of space. Located at Pasila train station, a major commuter thoroughfare, Tripla broke the two-million-visitor mark less than a month after opening.

According to HS, the 20 largest shopping centres in the Greater Helsinki area sold a total of 2.9 billion euros worth of stuff in 2018. The region is home to about 1.5 million residents, a figure which is growing by 16,000 people annually.

According to Winberg the new residents alone have a spending power of 120 to 150 million euros a year.

He cautioned that a billion euros is a lot of money and it needs to come from somewhere.

Yet, “the idea that if one succeeds another will fail doesn’t apply here," Winberg told the paper. "Competition will be tight but that doesn’t mean that one centre will go under [at the expense of another's success]."

Six-year-old Finnish boy at al-Hol

Meanwhile, Ilta-Sanomat (IS), the sister tabloid of HS, cites a Sky News story that claims a six-year-old boy at the al-Hol refugee camp in northern Syria is from Finland.

The British cable news channel Sky News visited the camp and in a video report captured the shocking and dangerous conditions at the camp, which Yle has extensively reported on previously. The Sky News reporter also interviewed children living at the camp. One of them, writes IS, was a fair-haired, blue-eyed boy, who said his name is Yousef.

When asked where he was from, the boy answered “Finlandi.”

About 70,000 people are at the camp, and the children’s fate is a huge international problem that doesn’t appear to have an immediate solution, writes IS.

"Finest daycare of all time"

Iltalehti tabloid runs a story about what it bills as possibly the "finest daycare of all time," as a three-storey centre opens in Vantaa on Tuesday.

According to Iltalehti, the highlights include a number of different ways for transporting children to the outdoor playground, such as a special super-size elevator for transporting large groups of small children, and a crocodile-slide that leads directly to the playground.

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