Traffic on Aleksanterinkatu in Helsinki on February 20, 2024. LEHTIKUVA


The Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce has released an analysis based on early-year figures from Statistics Finland, indicating that a record number of businesses ceased operations in the capital region in 2023. The data shows that 9,450 businesses closed down, marking a 17% increase compared to the previous year. These figures exclude the primary production and real estate sectors.

The retail sector, in particular, has seen a significant number of closures over the past two years, with more businesses shutting down than starting up in the Helsinki region from January 2022 to September 2023. While bankruptcies and corporate restructurings are often used as indicators of economic downturns, Marko Silen, head of the advisory team at the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce, suggests these metrics are becoming less relevant. Modern business practices allow for more controlled shutdowns of unprofitable ventures.

"The decline in the number of retail businesses in the capital region is worrying. Even the construction sector saw more new businesses being established than closed. It's crucial to ensure that city centers remain attractive to a variety of retail businesses, which in turn draw diverse customer groups to the centers," Silen remarks.

Nationwide, over 31,000 businesses were estimated to have closed last year, based on data from January to September 2023 provided by Statistics Finland, again excluding the primary production and real estate sectors.

Businesses in the Helsinki region, which includes Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen, account for approximately 27% of Finland's total business population, excluding primary production and real estate. This share has steadily increased from 24% in 2013.

The report on business turnover and the estimate of businesses that closed in the Helsinki region in 2023 was prepared by researcher Pekka Lith for the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce, which has about 7,000 members. The Chamber's service area covers 21 municipalities in the Uusimaa region, offering free legal advice to its members on various issues.