Longer opening hours boost sales in Finnish retail chain

S-Group’s Alepa enjoyed 11.4% sales growth in 2010 after introducing longer opening hours.

Longer opening hours became possible in Finland’s retail sector following the introduction of a new law in December 2009. The impact of the change in the sales of daily consumer goods is especially visible in the Helsinki region, according to market research company Nielsen. For example, the S-Group’s Alepa chain enjoyed sales growth of 11.4% in 2010 after introducing longer opening hours.

According to the S-Group, the importance of Sunday as a shopping day is constantly increasing in Finland, and the retail sales of daily consumer goods on Sundays have exceeded expectations. All the S-Group’s chains have benefited from the new opening hours, but the biggest beneficiaries have been the largest stores like Prisma and Kodin Terra.

Conversely, the S-Group’s ABC stores, which could already stay open late before the change in regulations because they are located in petrol service stations, experienced a 5.1% fall in sales in 2010. As a result, the S-Group is now bringing its Alepa brand into the ABC stores.

Sanna Kotakorpi, director of customer services at Nielsen, believes that the impact is also visible in the falling sales experienced in 2010 by stores under 100 square metres in size, which could traditionally stay open longer. Their strong sales growth in 2009 came to a halt in 2010 as other types of stores were also able to benefit from the longer opening hours.

Source: Kaupan Maailma, S-Group