S Group's operating result for January–June 2016 was EUR 87 million (EUR 73 million in January–June 2015). Retail sales excluding taxes totalled EUR 5,336 million.
"The improved result is in particular due to the fine development of the result of the travel industry and hospitality business, as well as consumer goods trade. The sales of the grocery trade have continued the strong development and, in particular, I would like to point to the fine growth in the area consumer goods at Prisma stores; contrary to the general development in the sector, it has enjoyed significant growth in sales", says Taavi Heikkilä, CEO of SOK.
SOK Corporation's operating result was EUR 10 million (three million euros in the previous year). The result was improved in particular by SOK's measures to improve efficiency.
In total, co-op members were paid EUR 171 million in Bonus rewards; six million euros more than in the corresponding period in the previous year.
Liberalisation of opening hours increased working hours
Deregulated opening hours have brought benefits beyond the trade group's sales and result.
"The deregulation of opening hours has invigorated the whole retail sector. In addition to the increased customer volumes, we have been able to offer more working hours to our employees and hire new staff. All in all, the amount of working hours increased at S Group by 500 man-years during the first half of the year", Heikkilä says.
The sales of S Group's grocery trade continue to grow, exceeding three billion euros with a growth of more than four per cent in Finland during the first half of the year.
"The fine development of sales and the improving result strengthen our possibilities to continue lowering the prices of grocery products", Heikkilä says.
More information:Taavi Heikkilä, CEO, SOK, tel.: +358 10 76 80200Jari Annala, Senior Vice President, CFO, SOK, tel.: +358 10 76 82040
The cooperative-based S Group consists of 20 regional cooperatives, eight local cooperatives and the SOK Corporation, owned jointly by the cooperatives, together with its subsidiaries.
S Group's and SOK Corporation's key figures for January–June 2016
S Group as a whole (cooperatives + SOK Corporation)
· Retail sales excluding taxes totalled EUR 5,336 million (EUR 5,248 million in the previous year).
· Retail sales increased by 1.7 percent.
· Profit before extraordinary items and taxes was EUR 105 million (EUR 79 million).
· Operating profit was EUR 87 million (EUR 73 million).
· Investments totalled EUR 249 million (EUR 280 million).
· At the end of June, the number of co-op members stood at 2,246,459 (2,180,151).
· At the end of June, the number of personnel was 39,149 (43,828). This year, S Group employs a total of around 13,000 summer employees and summer trainees through the Learn and Earn programme.
· The total number of outlets at the end of June was 1,647 (1,644).
SOK Corporation (SOK + subsidiaries)
· Net sales (IFRS) was EUR 3,466 million (EUR 3,432 million).
· Net sales increased by one per cent.
· Profit before taxes (IFRS) was EUR 11 million (EUR 5 million).
· Operating profit was EUR 10 million (EUR 3 million).
· Investments totalled EUR 50 million (EUR 34 million).
· At the end of June, the number of personnel was 6,604 (8,737). Contributing factors to the decrease of personnel were the actions to improve the efficiency of operations and the transfer of Inex Partners Oy's logistics employees to a large extent to the service of a company outside the Group.
SOK Corporation's full interim report will become available on 18 August 2016.