HELSINKI Feb 13 Finnish department store and retail chain owner Stockmann reported a surprise fall in its quarterly operating profit, weighed down by weak department store sales.
Operating profit stood at 57 million euros ($77 million), down from 59 million euros a year earlier and missing analysts' average forecast of 65 million euros.
"No permanent solution has been found for Europe's debt crisis and this will continue to cause uncertainty in 2013. Slow growth must be taken into account in our Finnish department stores in particular, where operating profit in 2012 fell short of expectations," CEO Hannu Penttila said in a statement.
However, Stockmann forecast its profit and sales to increase this year.
($1 = 0.7427 euros) (Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Chris Gallagher)