Monday April 12, 2021

Stockmann likely to close stores during COVID-19 lockdown

Published : 26 Mar 2021, 19:38

  DF News Desk

File Photo Visit Finland by Ari-Pekka Darth.

Finland's largest retailer Stockmann is preparing to shut down all its department stores in the country due to the negative economic impact of the country's tightening COVID-19 restrictions, reported Xinhua.

However, Stockmann's online store will continue to operate as normal, the company said in a press release issued on Friday.

Stockmann has also initiated codetermination negotiations on layoffs for the entire staff in Finland, the company said.

"The aim is to prepare the number of staff for a situation where customers are not able to visit the department stores due to stricter coronavirus restrictions, and for an immediate decline of the revenue caused by the situation," Stockmann explained.

The company said that the codetermination negotiations will start next week. They will concern around 1,200 people working in Stockmann's stores and support functions in Finland. The possible layoffs for "a maximum period of 90 days" will be negotiated in a situation where the "department stores are possibly forced to close."

Under Finland's labor law, this kind of layoff allows employees to furlough without losing their jobs.

Stockmann's business has been strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since the spring of 2020, the company said in earlier press releases.

In February this year, the struggling retailer announced a round of codetermination negotiations covering around 900 staff, while earlier in the month the Helsinki District Court approved plans to restructure its business in order to pay off debts of over 740 million euros, according to national broadcaster Yle.