• Company set to cut 65 jobs in Finland and US
  • Q4 net loss EUR1m, versus EUR1.1m profit
  • Q4 sales down 1% to EUR25.5m

Apparel and homeware business Marimekko is to axe up to 65 jobs after reporting a fourth quarter loss thanks to under-performing retail operations.

The Finnish company said up to 55 jobs would go in Finland and up to 10 in the US, where its six new store openings have failed to live up to expectations.

The job cuts, which could realise savings of up to EUR2.5m (US$3.4m) a year, may be accompanied by the downgrading of full-time retail positions in Marimekko’s Finnish stores to part-time working or reduced hours, the company said.

In the US, where Marimekko said its new retail operations had failed to meet revenue and earnings expectations, it was negotiating the termination of the lease on its store in Beverly Hills, with a view to moving it to a better location.

“In spite of the difficult state of the global economy, we have built Marimekko into a global design company with already more than 130 stores in Asia, Europe and North America,” said Mika Ihamuotila, company president and CEO.

“It is now time to move into the next stage of our strategy, in which we seek a significant improvement in profitability at the same time as our growth continues.”

The move follows a sales dip and reported loss for the fourth quarter of 2013, with write-downs of EUR1.5m thanks to poor profitability from stores in Beverly Hills, Boston and Oslo.

For the full year, net sales rose 6% to EUR94m, with international sales surging 16% to EUR41.8m thanks to stores opened in North America and Asia Pacific during 2012 and 2013.

In addition, Marimekko is to recruit a new creative director, replacing Minna Kemell-Kutvonen, who will continue with the company in other design-related duties.

While the recruitment process continues, chief marketing officer Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko will handle the duties of creative director, assisted by Kemell-Kutvonen.