Landmark store set to close

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Christiania GlasMagasinet has been a fixture in Oslo for centuries, and expanded into a chain of department stores nationwide. Now its flagship store at Stortorvet in downtown Oslo is set to close, a victim of high costs and a lower share of its parent company’s revenues.

Retailers have suddenly seen a rise in Christmas shopping. Shown here, the venerable "GlasMagasinet" department store in downtown Oslo, now part of a shopping center inside the historic building, with the city's open-air flower market in the foreground. PHOTO: John Smith, for Views and News

The venerable Christiania GlasMagasinet department store in downtown Oslo, always highly decorated during the Christmas season, will close after 152 years of operation, in favour of smaller stores outside the city center. PHOTO: Smith

“The business at Stortorvet has high costs, has been difficult to operate and stands for a smaller portion of total revenues,” Stian Petterson, chief executive of AS Christiania GlasMagasin, stated in a press release on Monday. Petterson also cited a lack of parking at the historic downtown location across from Oslo’s Cathedral (Oslo Domkirken).

He told business newssite E24 that the retailing company must expand its geographic spread. “It’s really quite simple,” Petterson told E24. “There is too great of a geographic spread among customers,” adding that Christiania GlasMagasin must operate where its customers are located.

That likely means more and smaller stores in local neighbourhoods and shopping centers and not in the center of the capital. He said Christiania GlasMagasin, which traditionally has specialized in glassware, porcelain and housewares featuring brands like Norway’s Hadeland crystal and glass and other Scandinavian items, will retain a presence in Oslo, but with smaller stores “where customers live.”

He said the goal is to double the number of Christiania GlasMagasin stores over the next three years. Employees of the landmark store at Stortorvet, which has been in business for 152 years, will be offered jobs in new stores to be opened.

The company reported a profit of NOK 6 million last year, NOK 60 million in capital and no commercial bank loans. Operations at Stortorvet will be maintained “until we find six to eight new locations in Oslo,” Petterson told E24. Berglund