International grocery retailers likes Carrefour, Tesco and Metro should come to Finland to boost competition, according to Osmo Laine, Managing Director of the Finnish Grocery Trade Association, which represents almost the whole of the Finnish grocery retail market. He would like to put an end to accusations that the Finnish grocery trade and legislation are limiting competition and welcomes the prospect of competing against the international giants.
In order to open up the playing field, Laine would like raise the size limit for a large retail store from the current 2000 square metres to 3500 square metres, making it easier to get planning permission for new supermarkets around the country. He believes that the major international retail chains are not interested in coming to Finland unless they can construct stores in line with their marketing concept. The grocery trade requires more space now because the product selection has doubled in the past ten years, according to Laine.
So far only the German retail chain Lidl has entered the Finnish grocery market because a 2000 square metre store is adequate for its needs. Lidl is now an established part of the Finnish grocery trade and is also becoming a member of the Finnish Grocery Trade Association at the turn of the year. Lidl’s Managing Director Lauri Sipponen will be a board member of the association. The members of the Finnish Grocery Trade Association represent 95% of the Finnish retail market for groceries.