A YEAR OF CONSIDERABLE RENEWAL AND CHANGES
The year 2020 was marked by major turns of events. Early-year performance was strong thanks to our revised strategy, and an indication of this was the positive profit warning we issued in January. The global spread of the coronavirus pandemic, however, radically altered our entire operating environment in all the countries where we operate. We continued to systematically execute our revised strategy and revitalise our business while adapting our operations to abrupt changes in the operating environment.
We swiftly initiated large-scale adjustment measures and savings programmes in both the Lindex and the Stockmann Division. To ensure the continuity of the business, the company filed for corporate restructuring on 6 April. At the same time, we considerably developed our department stores, fashion stores and digital shopping channels, as well as our selection in order to create a true omnichannel customer experience with a strong digital focus. In the early stages of the pandemic, we offered our customers new services and safe shopping options and held our Crazy Days campaign online in both the spring and the autumn.
The pandemic radically transformed consumer behaviour. Demand for fashion decreased considerably but strengthened in the home and beauty categories. Lindex kept its strong position in women’s lingerie and kid’s wear.
Lindex continued its robust global growth through international online retail platforms and expanded its operations for the first time to China by introducing its highly appreciated baby assortment to the world’s largest digital retail website Tmall. The division expanded by launching the Closely underwear brand. Lindex also extended its baby assortment and launched ‘Lindex Baby Home’, a playful home collection.
In the Stockmann Division, we introduced a new online store platform and revamped our department stores in Helsinki, Tampere and the Jumbo shopping centre in Vantaa. We further strengthened our premium selection by making more than 70 new fashion brands available to our customers and launching two new collections of our own. To enhance our service, we have provided all our supervisors with training in the implementation of our customer-focused strategy.
Our aim is to guarantee leading edge service, the best selection and seamless shopping regardless of the sales channel. We will continue to develop our services, department stores, fashion stores and online shopping channels and to build a sustainable future. We moved sustainability even closer to the core of our operations by integrating our sustainability strategy into our business strategy and the indicators we monitor regularly. We have made good progress towards the targets in our sustainability strategy, and we discuss this topic in more detail in our sustainability report.
We continue our work to improve the profitability of our operations. The coronavirus pandemic created a major additional challenge for us in achieving this target, but also an opportunity to reassess our business. We have considerably reduced our costs by renegotiating the leases for our department stores and other stores and by rationalising our operations and processes. The proposal for corporate restructuring programme, filed in December and approved on 9 February 2021, together with the revised strategy will provide the framework to our operations for the 2021–2023 strategy period and the corporate restructuring programme until 2028. We will continue to systematically implement our customer-focused strategy in cooperation with our customers and stakeholders. I would like to thank our employees, customers, partners and shareholders for their constructive cooperation in 2020. We aim to secure the future of our iconic company and will do our utmost to succeed in this. The future is made together – in line with our values.
Stockmann Plc, Chief Executive Officer