S Group's operating result for January–June 2017 was EUR 128 million, compared to EUR 87 million in January–June 2016. SOK Corporation's operating result remained at last year's level and amounted to EUR 11 million. S Group's retail sales excluding taxes increased by 2.4% and stood at EUR 5.5 billion.
The improved result is attributable to streamlining of S Group's operations and increased sales in various business sectors. Other contributing factors are a wider product range, extended store hours and lower prices. In Finland, S Group's grocery sales continued to outperform the general market development in the field.
The price of food has been cut by a total of more than EUR 150 million throughout the S Group. To date, the sales margins have been reduced for approximately 3,000 products.
"The improved result allows us to continue lowering prices in future. We will also improve the selection of products and services. A recent example from the consumer goods trade, is the Boy Meets Girl clothing line launched in the Prisma stores in August," says Taavi Heikkilä, CEO of SOK.
Good service regardless of contact channel
S Group's digital services have become increasingly popular. The online food trade increased by close to 50% from the corresponding period last year. The ABC mobile refuelling service is available at all ABC stations across the country, and approximately 200,000 co-op members already use S Group's electronic receipt archive. New services are also underway.
"We want to provide unparalleled convenience and benefits from services. Our ambition is to provide customers with the same quality of service, regardless of the service channel," says Heikkilä.
Customers have welcomed the extended store hours, including 45 S Group outlets that are open around the clock.
S Group's investments remained at last year's level and amounted to EUR 246 million. The main investment object was the new logistics centre for grocery products being built in Sipoo, which is already partly operational.
Co-op members were paid EUR 162 million in Bonus rewards, which was approximately EUR 10 million less than in 2016. Most of the decrease is attributable to a change in legislation prohibiting Bonus rewards for cigarettes and tobacco products. Co-op members received close to EUR 4 million in payment method discount for paying with S-Etukortti card.
S Group's and SOK Corporation's key figures for January–June 2017
S Group as a whole (cooperatives + SOK Corporation), January–June 2017:
- Retail sales excluding taxes totalled EUR 5,464 million (EUR 5,336 million).
- Retail sales increased by 2.4 percent.
- Profit before appropriations and taxes was EUR 119 million (EUR 105 million).
- Operating profit was EUR 128 million (EUR 87 million).
- Investments totalled EUR 246 million (EUR 246 million).
- At the end of June, there were 2,295,749 co-op members (2,246,459).
- At the end of June, the number of personnel was 41,381 (41,337). This year, S Group is employing 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 1,630 (1,647).
SOK Corporation (SOK + subsidiaries), January–June 2017:
- Net sales (IFRS) were EUR 3,449 million (EUR 3,466 million).
- Profit before taxes (IFRS) was EUR -4 million (EUR 11 million). The result was affected by non-recurring costs for closing the stores in Latvia and Lithuania.
- Operating profit (FAS) was EUR 11 million (EUR 10 million).
- Investments totalled EUR 25 million (EUR 50 million).
- At the end of June, the number of personnel was 6,708 (6,604).
SOK Corporation's full interim report will be available in the S-kanava online service on 17 August 2017.