Stockmann Russia will open sixteen more department stores country-wide in 2023, the CEO of the chain has revealed.
In comments to TASS, Gennady Levkin spoke about the company's plans to expand its footprint to new locations throughout the country. Stockmann is looking to seize the opportunity presented by the widespread availability of high-quality real estate, abandoned by foreign companies that fled the country in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Stockmann, which was founded in Helsinki in the 19th century, became a symbol of Russia’s new embrace of the West when it chose Moscow as the location for its first store outside Finland in 1989. The shop, situated within Moscow's famous GUM shopping mall, immediately became a favourite for expats living in the Russian capital and became a go-to for Western clothes. As the Yeltsin era unfolded, Stockmann generated significant profits by targeting Russia's newly emerging affluent class, catering to their demand for high-quality foreign goods. In 1998, the company opened its first standalone department store and later expanded its offering by forging deals with iconic Western brands such as Zara and Nike. In 2015, Stockmann agreed to sell its operations in Russia to Reviva Holdings, which still owns the company to this day. The company now has 12 locations, primarily in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
"We have seen the Soviet Union dissolve, a couple of coup attempts, tanks on the streets, and still our stores have remained open and business has been running," former CEO Hannu Penttila told Reuters in 2014.
In January 2022, prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, state-owned Russian bank Sberbank revealed its intention to acquire the Russian division of Stockmann, subject to a comprehensive investment audit. A few months later, Sber announced that would be pulling out of the deal.
According to CEO Levkin, as reported by TASS, the company plans to expand its reach by launching sixteen new stores across several cities, including Moscow, Sochi, St. Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk and Perm. These department stores will offer a variety of international brands, including those from Turkey.
“Investments amount to RUB45,000 ($550.6) per square metre, estimated at about RUB3bn ($36.7mn) in total," he said.
As things stand, Stockmann’s two most prominent stores are on Moscow’s Manezhnaya Square, a stone’s throw from the Kremlin, and on Saint Petersburg’s Nevsky Prospect, opposite the city’s main train station.