CEO Jari Latvanen, Interim Management Statement Q1 2020 (30.4.2020):
In 2019 major changes took place in Stockmann’s businesses. We renewed our strategy and launched a new clarified vision, mission and values towards the end of the year. The first effects of our strategic actions and ongoing transformation are emerging in our financial results.
The strategic choices made in spring 2019 have proven to be correct, and the Group’s business operations have developed as planned in 2019 and in January–February 2020. Group sales in January–February were on a healthy level, with a growth of 3.5%. Under the prevailing circumstances, the development at the beginning of the year can be considered good.
Unfortunately, the unprecedented situation caused by the coronavirus led to an extreme decline in customer volumes and sales after the first week of March and sales declined by 49.1 % in March. Despite continued strong growth in the online stores of Stockmann and Lindex in recent weeks, the online sales growth cannot compensate for the drastic decline in customer volumes in the current exceptional situation.
The coronavirus epidemic has forced us to look for new ways of taking Stockmann Group into the future. The numerous restrictions and special regulations imposed as a result of the outbreak will considerably decrease the volume of our business operations, their profitability and cash flows. As a result of the outbreak, we launched cost-saving measures in March and initiated codetermination negotiations to cut costs and to adjust personnel resources with temporary layoffs.
After the first week of March, the coronavirus epidemic in Europe has caused significant changes in the operating environment of the Stockmann Group, with customer volumes decreasing suddenly. The coronavirus and the restrictions imposed in the current situation had a major impact on the company’s customer volumes and cash flow and therefore Stockmann plc decided to file for corporate restructuring. Filing for corporate restructuring gives us the time and opportunity to look for ways to restore our operations in a difficult situation. We will continue our operations and serve our customers in the best possible way. Our primary goal at the moment is to secure the preconditions for profitable business, the jobs of our employees and to continue developing the Group’s healthy business operations for the future.