Finland has been suffering from a weak economic situation for a long time. Since 2010, the development of consumer purchasing power has been poor and, in the past few years, even negative. At the same time, there has been an increase in unemployment figures, and consumers' confidence in their own economy has weakened. The prolonged poor economic situation, the digitalisation of trade and the drastic structural change towards multi-channel services along with the accelerating changes in the operating environment pose major challenges for trade operators, with major effects for the consumer goods trade.
"For some time, S Group's consumer goods trade has been unprofitable. To turn the result trend to positive, we have to understand our customers better and become more alert and proactive in our reactions to changing demand for goods. In addition, we want to clarify the areas of responsibility and dismantle redundancies within SOK", says Arttu Laine, Executive Vice President, COO at SOK.
The aim of reorganising operations is boost cost-efficiency and create synergies between sectors and, consequently, enable S Group to respond to the increasing competition.
"The current matrix organisation of SOK Consumer goods trade has become too heavy and unable to respond to the toughening challenges. According to our plans, the current matrix organisation will be dismantled and the consumer goods trade operations will be rearranged into chain-driven units. We plan to create separate organisations for hardware trade, department store and speciality store trade, and integrate Prisma consumer goods operations into the grocery sales organisation", Arttu Laine says.
The statutory negotiations relating to the reorganisation will begin on 12 June. The negotiations will affect all employees of SOK Consumer goods trade and SOK Grocery trade (approximately 530 employees) and may result in the termination of the employment of a maximum of approximately 130 persons. The negotiations do not affect the employees of S-Verkkopalvelut Oy or SOK's Marks & Spencer chain management.
The aim is to draw up the plans for rearranging the operations by the end of August.
The statutory negotiations do not affect other operations within SOK or SOK Corporation, e.g. Inex Partners Oy. Nor do they concern regional cooperatives, their stores or other outlets. The services offered by regional cooperatives to co-op members remain unchanged.
Additional information: Arttu Laine, Executive Vice President, COO, SOK, tel. +358 10 76 81011.