March 22, 2019 / 7:42 AM / in a month

CEO of Finnish retailer Stockmann to leave at end of March

HELSINKI, March 22 (Reuters) - Finnish department store and fashion chain group Stockmann Oyj Abp, which has not reported an annual net profit since 2013, said its Chief Executive Lauri Veijalainen will leave the company at the end of the month.

Known for its upmarket department stores, Stockmann has been hit by consumers’ shift towards online shopping, prompting the company to cut costs and shed assets.

Stockmann said it would immediately start a search for a new CEO, while chairman Lauri Ratia would take on an executive role for the time being.

Veijalainen will leave Stockmann on March 31 to take up a new position outside the company, but will be at the Stockmann’s disposal during his notice period.

“The transformation is a long process and we have already turned the Stockmann Group’s operating result positive. The journey has had both successes and challenges,” Veijalainen, who has headed Stockmann since 2016, said in a statement.

Last year, Stockmann pulled out of Russia by selling its last remaining shopping centre in St. Petersburg and said it would concentrate on developing its department stores in Finland and the Baltic countries.

For 2018, Stockmann reported a loss of 0.68 euros per share, while consolidated revenue fell 1 percent to 1.02 billion euros. (Reporting by Tarmo Virki, editing by Anne Kauranen and Jane Merriman)

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