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Ene Andruskevitsus, Stockmann marketing manager
Christmas sales have increased by 10 percent compared to last year. People save money during the year to shop at the end of it. The Christmas campaign is one of Stockmann's biggest campaigns, which makes up about one-fifth of the total turnover. The increase in sales was really noticeable in November during a "preparations for Christmas" campaign. The food department is our main source of income. Special services like Christmas baskets are very popular.
This year was successful for us although the crisis in the banking sector and in Russia has had an impact on every trading company. Compared to the previous year, we have stayed on the same level, financially speaking.
Stockmann's traditional, conservative and well-planned marketing is the key to our success. But the competition is becoming more serious, as Kristine Center, which brings in Italian trademarks, opens its doors.
Urmo Valner, Tallinna Kaubamaja financial manager
This year we expanded. We opened the fourth floor at the Gonsiori Street center and also opened a center in Mustamagi. We have altogether four trading centers and a car-parking building.
Tallinna Kaubamaja's profit in 1998 will be smaller than last year due to losses from closing the center in Helsinki. I believe that the 1998 economic results for most of the Estonian shops will be worse than they were last year. Their sales will increase but the profits probably will not.
Kaubamaja's December sales are bigger than other months' sales, which is usual in trade. But this year, it seems that the purchasing power of people has declined due to a loss of faith in the future and decreasing wages. Many people have lost their jobs and most do not receive unemployment benefits. There have been several bankruptcies and people, who haven't yet lost, are afraid of losing their jobs.
Sari Sopanen, Sokos managing director
This year has turned out much as we planned it. We had an increase in sales and we'll make the profit that we budgeted for. Our sales may increase by 10 percent compared to last year. The final result depends on December. The increase in sales in December may not be as remarkable at our store because we sell clothes, fashion articles, shoes and cosmetics. We do not have household goods, which are popular Christmas items.
But sales will be much higher in December than they normally are. The most popular goods at this time of the year are cosmetics, toys, underwear and nightwear. In the cosmetics department, men can find presents the easiest.
Raul Kadaru, Maksimarket Oismae Center manager
Maksimarket's third center was opened in August and its sales have not had much impact on Maksimarket's total yearly turnover. So sales in December may account for 12 percent of the year's total sales. We expect a 30 percent increase in December. Candy, turkey, candles, and scarves - these are the traditional Christmas products.
About 55 percent of our goods are food products, 25 percent are household goods and 20 percent are wardrobe garments.
We gained a big market share this year. Neither the amount of cash nor the population has increased in Tallinn and its vicinity, but our turnover has almost doubled. This means that we have become stronger.
Next year we are planning to open a new trade center in Tartu.