Mild autumn weather leaves Swedish retailers sweating

While several parts of Sweden are enjoying the warmest autumn in 130 years, the country's retailers are sweating buckets over the dwindling sales of outerwear.

”The main reason for the slump is that Swedes are holding on to their pennies, but the mild weather hasn’t improved the situation in any way. My prediction is that sales will slow further in the October figures,” said Mikaeel Sandström, chairman of the retail branch of the Swedish Trade Association (Svensk handel Stil) to business newspaper Dagens Industri (DI) .

According to several analysts the clement climate has prompted several clothing retailers to launch early sales on coats and jackets.

The retail industry managed fairly well in the recession of 2008, but this time the going will get tougher for retailers, according to Sandström.

”Six months ago everything looked fairly bright and everyone was counting on a great autumn, which meant they bought rather large stocks. It is in the light of this that many have too much in their warehouses,” Sandström said.

Behind the decline is wavering private consumption but the warm weather is doing nothing to help, according to Sandström.

Several Swedish retailers are now announcing sales, and many have reported catastrophic figures for the last few months.

The Kapp-Ahl chain, for example, reported a 13 percent drop in sales for September and October compared with the previous year.

If trends continue, Sandström predicts that many outlets will be shuttered and some companies may face bankruptcy.

“Manufacturers bore the brunt of the last crisis, now it’s the retail sector that may get a taste of the poison,” he told DI.

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Trains delayed and roads slippery in Sweden despite lower snowfall

Sweden's state-owned rail company SJ cancelled several train services on Tuesday as a result of the snowy weather, while forecasters warned that roads could still be slippery in many regions.

Trains delayed and roads slippery in Sweden despite lower snowfall

SJ is cancelling several regional trains on Tuesday between Stockholm and Uppsala, Stockholm and Västerås, and Gävle and Linköping at the request of the Swedish Transport Administration, which wants to free up space on the tracks. 

At the same time, weather forecaster SMHI warned that, while snowfall would decrease over the day, there would still be a risk of slippery roads in many areas.

“It’s still continuing to snow, but the intensive snowfall we are now warning about will come to an end during the day, starting in the south of the country,” state meteorologist Angelica Lundberg told the TT newswire.  “Over the coming days there may be an increased risk of slipping and this is the case most of all close to the coast.” 

Bengt Olsson, press officer for the Swedish Transport Administration, told SVT that the disruptions seen on Sunday and Monday looked likely to ease off on Tuesday. 

“It’s a bit calmer so far. There’s another type of road surface to day. It’s starting to freeze up a but. There’s a lot of crust from the snow and patches of ice out on the road, so its the risk of skidding that we are trying to deal with today.”

The slippery roads have led to some busses being cancelled, with Dalatrafiken, the bus operator in Dalarna, cancelling several regional bus services. 

Buses parked at the Keolis bus depot in Värtahamnen cruise terminal in Stockholm.
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Stockholm’s transport operator SL suspended the Lindingöbanan Light-railway line on Tuesday morning, and has also reduced some commuter train services. In Söderort, Huddinge and Botkyrka all bus services have been cancelled. 

“The measures taken to prevent skidding aren’t working,” SL’s press spokesperson Andreas Strömberg told SVT. “At Juliaborg in Huddinge six of our buses got stuck, so the traffic controllers decided to cancel all further services so we can get in snow ploughs.

Snow was continuing to fall on Tuesday over much of central Sweden, and SMHI has issued the lowest “yellow” weather warning for Sörmland, Västmanland, Örebro, Dalarna, and the north of Värmland. 

In most places, there is now between 5cm-15cm of snow, with 20cm in some places.