Stockmann Group, owner of Swedish fashion retailer Lindex, has filed for corporate restructuring due to the coronavirus pandemic having had a “significant” impact on customer volumes.

The retail group, which last year launched a performance improvement programme across its department and Lindex stores, filed for restructuring with the District Court of Helsinki yesterday (6 April). Group subsidiaries, including the Stockmann department stores in the Baltics and Lindex, are not in scope of the restructuring proceedings.

Stockmann says it made continued strong growth on its online stores in recent weeks, but it was not enough to offset a “drastic decline in customer volumes in the current exceptional situation”.

Last month, the company had warned the coronavirus outbreak and the numerous restrictions and special regulations imposed as a result would decrease the volume of its business operations and its profitability considerably.

Stockmann had launched a performance improvement programme at its department stores and Lindex in 2019, targeting cost savings and other performance improvements. They yielded an “improved performance” at Lindex and Stockmann, and year-on-year the company’s business performance “improved significantly” from January to February 2020.

Yet it says “the unprecedented situation” caused by the coronavirus has led to an extreme decline in customer volumes, depleting the company’s cash in hand.

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“We have been working tirelessly and passionately with all our Stockmann and Lindex employees to improve our business performance and to serve our customers in the best possible way,” says CEO says Jari Latvanen. “Unfortunately, the coronavirus epidemic has forced us to look for new means of driving Stockmann Group into the future. Our primary goal at the moment is to secure the preconditions of our business and our jobs.”

“We are confident that the strategy chosen for Stockmann Group is the right one. We will continue the rapid development of the Lindex brand into a major European fashion house. We will also continue to develop the Stockmann department stores based on our three key principles: unique, high-quality products; best customer service; and new products from the world to Finland and the Baltics. At the same time, we want to be a responsible corporate citizen across our value chain and to restore healthy business operations in the group.”