Stockmann is exposed to risks that arise from the operating environment, risks related to the company’s own operations and financial risks.
The general economic situation affects consumers’ purchasing behaviour and purchasing power in all of the Group’s market areas. Consumers’ purchasing behaviour is also influenced by digitalisation, increasing competition and changing purchasing trends. Rapid and unexpected movements in markets may influence the behaviour of both the financial markets and consumers. Uncertainties related to changes in purchasing behaviour are considered to be the principal risk arising from the operating environment that could affect Stockmann during 2019.
The operating environment may also affect the operations of Stockmann’s tenants and consequently may have a negative impact on rental income and the occupancy rate of Stockmann’s properties. These, particularly if related to the biggest tenants of the properties, may have an effect on the fair value of the real estate.
Stockmann’s business is affected by seasonal fluctuations within a year. The first quarter is typically low in revenue and the fourth quarter typically higher in revenue. Fashion accounts for approximately 80% of the Group’s revenue. An inherent feature of the fashion trade is the short lifecycle of products and their dependence on trends, the seasonality of sales and the susceptibility to abnormal changes in weather conditions. These factors may have an impact on the Group’s revenue and gross margin. In the retail sector, the products’ value chain from raw material to customers often contains many stages and involves risks related to the fulfilment of human rights, good working conditions, and environmental and other requirements set out in Stockmann’s Code of Conduct and other policies. Responsible management of the supply chain and sustainable use of natural resources are important for the Group’s brands in order to retain customer confidence in Stockmann.
The Group’s operations are based on flexible logistics and the efficient flow of goods and information. Delays and disturbances in logistic and information systems, as well as uncertainties related to logistics partners, can have an adverse effect on operations. Every effort is made to manage these operational risks by developing appropriate back-up systems and alternative ways of operating, and by seeking to minimise disturbances to information systems. Operational risks are also met by taking out insurance cover.
The Group’s revenue, earnings and balance sheet are affected by changes in exchange rates between the Group’s reporting currency, which is the euro, and the Swedish krona, the Norwegian krone and the US dollar and certain other currencies. Currency fluctuations may have an effect on the Group’s business operations. Financial risks, mainly risks arising from interest rate fluctuations due to the Group’s high level of debt and hence high interest costs, and risks related to refinancing, breaching financial covenants under finance agreements and liquidity may have an effect on the financial position. Interest rate fluctuations may also have an impact on goodwill and the valuation of properties owned by the Group, and thus on the fair value of these assets. Financial risks are managed in accordance with the risk policy confirmed by the Board of Directors.