The outlet store model took some time to make its way to Finland but during the past few years the situation has changed noticeably. The word “outlet” is featured in a quarter of new stores, which can now also be found in the city centres that are not the traditional location for outlet stores.
The menswear store Solo is one of the oldest outlet stores in Finland and has recently relocated to the Helsinki city centre and renamed itself as Xtra. According to Heikki Varrio, the founder of Solo, his best-selling items are reasonably priced suits and branded products from new lines. His store is currently stocking shirts from Dolce & Gabbana, shoes from Prada and Pirelli, coats by Cornelian, underwear by Emporio Armani, ties from John Richmond and Armani Jeans, as well as suits by Versace, Gucci and Romeo Gigli.
“These days we aim to stock up-to-date seasonal lines. It creates extra work but the customers in Helsinki are quite discerning and older products are difficult to sell. At the same time the Finns have become wealthier: there has to be choice because they have already purchased the basic products,” says Varrio.
Although outlet stores are becoming more popular, larger Outlet Villages have not been established in Finland so far. Outlet Villages, with their cafes and pleasant surroundings, have become a hit in many countries and there is clearly a business opportunity to bring this retail concept to Finland.