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– Difficult to understand – E24

Jernia loses over one million a day, while the drop in turnover at Kremmerhuset’s interior design stores is up to 25 percent. The fall also affects the owners of the malls.

CLOSED: Customers came to closed doors at Steen & Strøm in Oslo.

Mattis Sandblad

Published: Published:

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The government’s continuation of measures means that shopping centers in the Oslo region must remain closed until 10 February.

The government’s measures are strange, says CEO of Jernia, Espen Karlsen.

He leads the store chain, which currently has over 200 employees on leave, and where 41 stores have had to close their doors as a result of the government last week refusing to keep shops in shopping centers open.

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– It is strange if the Minister of Health tries to limit people’s mobility by refusing them to shop at their local shopping centers. Instead, we risk people traveling to other municipalities, where the shopping centers are still open, says Karlsen.

He does not know that shopping centers should be more exposed to the spread of infection than detached shops.

– We lose over one million daily as a result of the restrictions, says Karlsen.

2020 was a good year for the Jernia chain, says Karlsen. During the Christmas shopping, Jernia therefore encouraged people to buy gift cards at a restaurant, rather than buying “another frying pan”.

Now the situation has to a certain extent reversed, as part of the catering industry from Wednesday is allowed to open its doors, while the Jernia stores in the shopping centers must remain closed.

STRANGE: Jernia boss thinks the measures are strange, and that relief in neighboring municipalities of Oslo can lead to people leaving closed areas to shop.

Sindre Hopland / Sindre Hopland / E24

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– Lives on the fact that the tenants are well

Closed stores also have consequences for shopping center owners. The typical thing in the industry is that the rent is divided into two, the shops pay a turnover-based rent and a fixed part.

– We are in the situation that we live that the tenants are well. When the turnover of the tenants disappears, it affects us in the next round, says CEO Lars Ove Løseth in the center group Alti.

He still says that Alti is “lucky” with the company’s portfolio. Alti has 24 shopping centers across the country, but only one that is affected by the continuation of the measures, at Alnabru in Oslo.

– Alna is the largest center in our portfolio and is important, but it is colleagues of ours who have a significantly larger share of their centers in the eastern region.

Løseth disagrees that some shopping centers still have to be closed. He thinks the best thing would have been to stay open.

– We believe that the infection control work that has been done in shopping centers, not only our chain, but all the players, is professional and well taken care of. In my opinion, it must make sense to keep as many stores and as many square meters as possible open, in order to distribute customers in as many places as possible.

– At the same time, we understand that the health authorities make assessments and we respect and follow them. We understand that things go fast in the turns, he says.

CEO Lars Ove Løseth in the center grouping Alti believes that it was possible to keep open and at the same time maintain infection control rules.

Sindre Hopland

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Steen & Strøm: – Difficult to understand

– It is difficult to understand the reasons for the shutdown, Annette Lund writes in an e-mail. She is the CEO of Promenaden Management, which is responsible for the operation of, among other things, the Steen & Strøm center in central Oslo.

Lund emphasizes that “the infection pressure is very low in the city center, and it was also throughout the Christmas trade and until the closure”.

– We follow all public guidelines at Steen & Strøm, and there are large areas and plenty of space between customers. Then it seems strange to say the least that we have to close, while even small grocery stores on the corner with less than one meter between the shelves are open, she writes.

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Nearly 20,000 affected

Recent figures from NHO Service og Handel show that close to 20,000 employees in up to 2,000 stores in around 60 shopping centers were informed today that the workplace will continue to be closed.

– It is dramatic for those concerned, says Anne-Cecilie Kaltenborn, CEO of NHO Service og Handel to E24.

– It is therefore very important that we get a reduced employer’s period of wage obligation, says Kaltenborn.

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Loses up to 25 percent of revenue

– The measures are illogical, says the interior chain Kremmerhuset’s CEO Vebjørn Torsetnes about the government’s closure of the shopping centers.

With access control, good distance, face masks and alcohol, he believes the shopping centers and Kremmerhus stores are good at maintaining infection control.

With the exception of four stores, all of Kremmerhuset’s interior stores are located in shopping centers. Of these, 13 have been affected by the shutdown, and more than 70 employees have been laid off.

– We are losing 20-25 percent of the turnover now, he says.

With the help of goods delivery and online store, the stores try to stem the losses the closure entails, but Torsetnes fears the consequences if the closure is prolonged.

– Full confidence

Ketil Wold, operations director of the Steen & Strøm group (which is not affiliated with the Steen & Strøm center in Oslo, journ.anm.), Says that the shopping center company has great respect for the decisions made by the government and the municipalities.

In the region where the closure of shopping centers has been extended, the group has the shopping center Oslo City and a center in Lørenskog.

– I have full confidence that the decisions they make and that the basis on which they make the decisions are made with good quality. We try to deal with this in the best possible way at our shopping centers.

– Then it is the case that it is a difficult situation for everyone, but we try to facilitate as best we can. So do all the stores in our malls.



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