The transaction is pending approval from the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority. The goal is to get the approval granted latest by the end of 2017. If approval is granted by that time, the transaction can be executed on 31 December 2017. If the transaction is implemented, all Stockmann Delicatessen employees in Finland will transfer to S Group as existing employees, and the Delicatessen stores will remain in all the Stockmann department stores.
"This is a historic moment for S Group and three of our cooperatives: HOK-Elanto, the Tampere Regional Cooperative and the Turku Regional Cooperative. Everyone in Finland is familiar with the strong Stockmann Delicatessen brand, and we hold it in extremely high regard as well," says Arttu Laine, Executive Vice President at SOK.
"Stockmann Delicatessen is an institution and a key part of our department stores, now and in the future. We have found an excellent partner that has the willingness and resources to further develop Delicatessen in a competitive manner and to ensure that our customers will continue to have access to excellent service and selections," says Lauri Veijalainen, CEO of Stockmann.
"A learning opportunity for S Group"
According to Laine, the integration of the Delicatessen stores into S Group would be in line with the Group's current strategy, which was announced in 2015. S Group aims to improve its range of products and quality of service.
"Our goal is to develop the Delicatessen stores into S Group's flagship stores. We are aiming for the top level in Europe, and the Delicatessen stores' highly competent employees will play a crucial role in this respect. We have a great deal to learn from them," says Laine.
"And the prices will decrease," he adds.
In accordance with its strategy, Stockmann has been looking for partners that complement the product mix at its department stores and offer new services and experiences for its customers.
"Changes in procurement and logistics operations in particular have affected Stockmann Delicatessen's competitiveness and accelerated our search for a partner. We are confident that our customers will continue to have access to the best grocery store services in Finland," says Veijalainen.
What will Delicatessen be like in the future?
S Group is not allowed to participate in Delicatessen's business operations or their development while approval from the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority is pending. Furthermore, Stockmann cannot comment on future plans and wishes directed to S Group concerning Delicatessen.
"We want to understand Delicatessen's customers and their hopes and thoughts. We invite them to discuss the Delicatessen of the future with us. First, we will listen very carefully, and we will engage in active dialogue once the transaction has been approved by the Competition and Consumer Authority," says Laine.
In the planned transaction, the Delicatessen stores in the centre of Helsinki, Tapiola and in the Itis and Jumbo shopping centres will be transferred to HOK-Elanto. The Delicatessen store in Turku will be transferred to the Turku Regional Cooperative, and the store in Tampere to the Tampere Regional Cooperative. The Stockmann Delicatessen chain operations will be transferred to SOK. The Stockmann Delicatessen kitchen, which prepares Stockmann Meals foods, will be transferred to Meira Nova, a subsidiary of SOK. The Delicatessen business operations in the Stockmann department stores in the Baltic countries will remain with Stockmann.