April 30, 2020 / 9:41 AM / a month ago

Stockmann reports 49% plunge in March sales as it looks to restructure

April 30 (Reuters) - Finland’s Stockmann suffered a 49.1% fall in March sales hurt by the impact of the coronavirus, said the department store operator, which has filed for corporate restructuring.

Its adjusted operating loss widened to 30.5 million euros from 21.4 million a year earlier, it said.

Shares in the company were down 4.2% by 0900 GMT.

Known for its upmarket department stores, Stockmann has struggled for years in the face of a consumer shift to online shopping, prompting cost cuts and divestments.

On April 6, Stockmann announced it would file for corporate restructuring.

A day later it said more than 50% of its creditors had indicated they supported the restructuring, a form of administration in which a court appointee is charged with restructuring the company to avoid bankruptcy.

CEO Jari Latvanen said group sales in January-February had been on a healthy level with growth of 3.5%.

“Unfortunately, the unprecedented situation caused by the coronavirus led to an extreme decline in customer volumes and sales after the first week of March,” Latvanen said in a statement.

Strong sales growth in the online stores of Stockmann and its fashion subsidiary Lindex in recent weeks had not been enough to compensate for that drastic fall, he said. (Reporting by Anne Kauranen; editing by Jason Neely)

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