Kaubamaja sales up, shoppers undeterred by economic woes

  • 2008-10-15
  • By Matt Withers

DONT STOP ME NOW: Despite economic woes and the world financial crisis, figures indicate that Estonians aren't letting anything stand in their way of personal consumer lifestyles.

TALLINN - Recent revenue figures from the Tallinna Kaubamaja Group indicate that Estonians are continuing to pursue consumer lifestyles, despite gloomy economic forecasts and the ensuing credit crunch. Tallinna Kaubamaja Group, one of the country's oldest and best-established shopping center chains, announced unaudited revenues of 4.7 billion kroons (300.3 million euros) for the first nine months of the year, up 13 percent on last year.

As of the third quarter over 20 million purchases had been made at the company's stores, primarily at the Tallinn flagship and the recently rebuilt Tartu Kaubamaja, representing a 7 percent increase on last year's figure. The figures suggest that despite the government urging Estonians to tighten their belts in face of economic downturn, the public remains optimistic and has not been deterred from engaging in a consumer lifestyle.

But the increased sales cannot be solely attributed to the Estonian public's confidence in their purchasing power. Figures suggest that Tallinna Kaubamaja Group's Osturalli sales campaign was highly successful.
The statistics, reported by local newspaper Postimees, indicate that the Tallinn and Tartu department stores saw their daily combined visitors swell from 40,000 to 100,000 during the course of the five-day campaign, clearly exceeding the company's expectation of 400,000. 

Surprisingly, a significantly smaller amount of visitors were drawn to Tallinna Kaubamaja's last Osturalli campaign; the previous sales week, held in spring, attracted 100,000 less shoppers despite a more favorable economic climate. The company has reported its best ever performance during the weeklong campaign, declaring 15.6 million kroons (997,000 euros) in total sales, a success it has attributed to event organization rather than sheer consumer enthusiasm.

Tallinna Kaubamaja's sales and marketing manager, Enn Parel, said it was a particularly challenging campaign due to buyers being particularly conscious about making unnecessary expenditures. However, he said the campaign navigated these concerns by focusing on value.

"We can now say that we succeeded in offering our buyers value for money, and I am sure that all of them left the stores with satisfaction," said Parel. Tallinna Kaubamaja's main competitor, Stockmann, is set to launch its sales campaign later in the month. Stockmann's "Crazy Days" campaign is renowned for being the largest sales campaign in the capital, often causing chaos and congestion and shoppers rush to get the biggest bargains. And while analysts suggest that such campaigns can generate double-digit growth in sales, the company remains skeptical about the success of this year's campaign due to the economic climate.
"It would not be realistic to expect sales to go up sharply because of the economic hardship," said Krista Luhatse, marketing manager at Stockmann.