Citycon attended MAPIC 2012, the international gathering of decision-makers in retail real estate held in Cannes, France on 14-16 November. At the venue Citycon met some 40 operators that were possibly interested in expanding their operations to the Finnish markets. Citycon’s intent is to offer new brands to customers and make the overall offering more versatile in it’s close to 40 Nordic and Baltic shopping centres. Particular interest in Finland is being shown by operators in the café and restaurant industry, fashion retailers and department stores. Finnish partners, such as franchising entrepreneurs, would be needed for starting operations in Finland in order to help spread the chain’s operations in its target market area.

 The Finnish markets are of interest to international operators principally due to their stability and predictability, which is supported by the use of a common currency, the euro. The Finnish markets clearly have room for new operators. International chains have realised that Finland has a strong café culture and a demand for a more versatile offering. Citycon is eager to create a pleasant ambience in its shopping centres and to improve their café and restaurant services.

 “Cafés are not just for serving coffee,” says Nora Immonen, Citycon’s Director of New Business. “They are important meeting places and, at best, provide an opportunity to indulge oneself in the middle of everyday routines. I would be glad to see several new and novel cafés and restaurants emerge in our shopping centres. The feedback I got at MAPIC tells me that there is interest in entering the Finnish market. For example, the Swedish café culture has been getting stronger and more versatile for a long time now, and this trend is starting to make its way to Finland.”

 The luxury brand names interested in Finland, and Helsinki in particular, include Tiffany & Co. from the United States, and the chain of Högl shoe stores in Germany. In the fashion industry, so-called “fast fashion” is experiencing a strong upward trend. Representatives of this field of fashion presently missing from Finland include the Italian Terra Nova and French Etam, for example. The latter has already made one appearance here. In the restaurant sector, the American company Dairy Queen is looking at Finland and the other Nordic countries.

  “These chains are also interested in coming here,” Immonen continues, “but unfortunately they may have difficulty finding business partners to launch their operations. Chains like these would gladly bring their products and concepts to new market areas through local partners, but it is more difficult to find entrepreneurs in Finland than it is in Estonia, for example. If there are any enthusiastic entrepreneurs out there,” she says, by way of encouragement, “this is an excellent opportunity to launch a new business!”

 Another concept missing from Finland is the so-called “brand stables”. The business idea of brand stables is to spread various selected brands or restaurant concepts to the markets, providing entrepreneurs with an opportunity to represent several pre-conceptualised brands, or collections within a brand, in a specific market area. Selling several brands through one partner/entrepreneur is more common in the Baltic countries and other Nordic countries.

 MAPIC is the leading international gathering for decision-makers in retail real estate and retailing. For three days, more than 2,400 representatives of international brands come to MAPIC to select the best development sites in shopping centres, town centres, transit zones and every other type of location.

 For further details, contact:

 Director for New Business, Nora Immonen, tel. +358 400 587 052