Finnish textile and clothing company Marimekko said its profit after taxes for the first quarter was EUR0.01m (US$0.013m), from EUR1.4m in the corresponding period last year, with poor sales and other expenses taking their toll.

In the January-March period of 2009, the Marimekko Group's net sales fell by 13% to EUR16.3m.

Its earlier estimate for the financial year 2009 has been reduced and according to a current estimate, the company's net sales will decrease in 2009 by about 10% from the year 2008, while operating results are expected to decline distinctly too.                                                            

Mika Ihamuotila, president and CEO of Marimekko, said: "The first quarter of the year 2009 was extremely challenging for Marimekko due to the difficult market situation. The group's net sales declined and profit fell significantly.

"The sharp decline in consumer demand was reflected in sales both in Finland and abroad. The fall was particularly strong in sales to domestic and foreign retailers."

The company said Marimekko-owned retail shops managed to increase sales due to various marketing actions, and that strong growth continued in Japan, where sales were boosted by the opening of new concept stores.                                                                

However, a decline in sales, increased personnel expenses and other operating expenses had a negative impact on earnings for the period.