Finnish department store retailer Stockmann Group is to downsize its Seppälä apparel operations, leading to 70 job cuts initially, as part of a company-wide strategic review.

As revealed in October, the company said only its best performing Seppälä stores will remain open in Finland and Estonia. Seppälä will therefore pull out of the Latvian and Lithuanian markets entirely in the course of next year, Stockmann said.

The company said its new strategic objective is to improve its long-term competitiveness, and will gradually downsize or withdraw from its other businesses, namely Hobby Hall and Stockmann Beauty.

Stockmann remains committed, however, to its Lindex fashion chain, with plans to open new stores in existing and new markets in 2015. A new opening is scheduled for London in spring, and it also plans to look at entering the Chinese market.

"Stockmann's board of directors has made a strategic decision to focus on the group's key businesses, Stockmann Retail, Real Estate and Lindex," said CEO Per Thelin. "We have also listened extensively to our customers to build on the strengths of these businesses. Now the responsibility shifts to the management to make the turnaround and to place the customer back at the core of operations. As the new CEO, I am currently working with our personnel to turn the strategy into actions and make it visible to our customers during 2015."

Additional strategic decisions and progress of the actions made are expected to be given during the first half of 2015, with actions to implement the strategy to be "scaled up", it said.