Business areas

S Group's key business areas are the supermarket trade, department stores and speciality stores, the hardware trade, service station store and fuel sales, and the travel industry and hospitality business. In addition, S-Bank offers banking services. Individual cooperatives conduct automotive trade and agricultural trade.

Supermarket trade

S Group's supermarket trade in Finland consists of five different chains. The nationwide service network of nearly a thousand outlets, formed by the stores, is always planned to meet the diverse needs of the local residents as extensively as possible.

"The highlights of 2016 in S Group included the new rounds of lowering prices, extended store hours and growing customer volumes. Although we lowered our prices, the higher customer volumes increased our sales in both the grocery trade and consumer goods trade.

In our operations, we focus on two tasks, in particular: lowering the price of food and improving the Finnish grocery trade. Lowering prices is not a temporary campaign but a long-term strategic decision. It is part of the cooperative society's core operations, in other words, fulfilling the wishes of consumers.

The consumer goods trade, in particular, was a bright spot in 2016. We were able to increase our sales in the demanding market conditions. The product range was developed in the area of fashion, above all. Customers have welcomed our new brands, such as Jackpot, Cottonfield, and the Finnish Neulomo, which were launched last year. Renewing the consumer goods trade continues and exciting new initiatives are on the horizon.

In 2017, we will allocate EUR 45 million to lowering the price of food and launch a massive effort to improve the services, product range and quality of our stores. In addition, the online store for food will be developed further. Consumers' budding interest in purchasing food online is also reflected in the sales of the online store. The sales grew by nearly 50 per cent in 2016. 

The affordable prices and the extensive product range are our competitive advantages. The Prisma stores offer a one-stop shop for all purchases for the home and summer house. The S-market, Sale, Alepa and ABC Market stores offer an extensive selection of groceries, including local products and items for special diets."

Ilkka Alarotu, Senior Vice President, S Group Retail Business

 

 S Group's supermarket trade chains are Prisma, S-market, Sale, Alepa, and ABC Market.

S Group's supermarket trade

2016

2015

2014

Outlets

948

930

920

Retail sales, EUR million

7,755

7,479

7616

S Group's grocery trade market share in Finland

47.2

45.9

45.7

 

Department stores and speciality stores

S Group's department store and speciality store chains include Sokos, Emotion and Marks & Spencer, as well as a few other speciality store chains.

"The last few years have been challenging for department stores all around the world. The Sokos stores have tackled these challenges by returning to their roots. We have focused on the core of the department store trade, in other words, customers, service, and store settings.

The product range in S Group's department store trade was streamlined in the areas of beauty, fashion and home, in particular. Our customers have welcomed our new contemporary brands. Examples of them include the popular NYX cosmetics line, the Italian interior decoration brand Coin Casa, the Gerry Weber fashion line designed for fashion-conscious mature women, as well as Boss and Lacoste, the timeless fashion staples for men.

Four new outlets were opened: Sokos in Oulu, as well as the Emotion stores in the Kaleva district in Tampere, in the Iso Omena shopping centre in Espoo, and in Lohja. The new Sokos store, which opened in the Valkea shopping centre in Oulu, was an enormous endeavour, made possible by the hard work of all the people who contributed and, of course, customers, whose enthusiasm enabled the new operations to get off to an excellent start. The existing network of outlets was also developed, and the use of space was streamlined, in particular. 

The new marketing image of Sokos has received praise, and we want to encourage all our customers to discover their true selves. Inspiration for doing so can be found in the encouraging story of our brand ambassador Makwan Amirkhani.

The year 2016 was also financially profitable for our department store trade. Our customer volumes grew. Our sales grew overall, but growth was seen in men's fashion as well as in cosmetics in particular. The result of the Sokos chain is once again in the black, which is an excellent achievement in the current market situation.

However, there is still work to do in the coming years as well. Maintaining a contemporary product range in fashion and cosmetics, in particular, requires relentless eye on the sector and the courage to reinvent the operations. I believe we have what it takes. In addition to developing our product range, we are making our services more interactive and available through multiple channels. We also want to offer our customers interesting events and campaigns throughout the year."

Mika Laakso, Chain Director, SOK Department store and specialty store chain management, Sokos and Emotion

 

S Group's department stores and specialty stores

2016

2015

2014

Outlets

80

77

76

Retail sales, EUR million

300

295

324

 

In addition to the Sokos and Emotion chains, the figures include the data from the Pukumies and Marks & Spencer chains and the other specialty store outlets.

Service station store and fuel sales

ABC is Finland's most valued service station brand. It takes care of customers who are just travelling through and local residents alike by offering quick, versatile services, every day of the year. The services offered by ABC include restaurant services, a grocery store, as well as a diverse fuel selection aimed particularly at motorists and mobile customers.

"The year 2016 included amazing accomplishments: Our restaurant operations developed favourably and we launched the new Lähi-ABC concept and offered customers added convenience for vehicle refuelling using the ABC mobile payment service. A gratifying increase was also seen in the market shares of fuel.

Although ABC's customer volumes decreased due to the deregulation of store hours in the supermarket trade, we managed to uphold our sales in the restaurant trade, selling again more than 10 million meals.

The framework of the ABC chain is formed by the ABC service station stores, located along major roads and offering the same services basically in all stores. By contrast, the services and store hours of the Lähi-ABC stores primarily target local residents, so each station can customise their service offering to the local needs. The Lähi-ABCs are mainly located in densely populated areas. At the end of 2016, the number of Lähi-ABC outlets was 34.

The ABC mobile refuelling is our first digital step toward providing customers with more convenient services. The service has also been noted internationally, and customers have praised the quick and secure method of paying for fuel purchases. Customers no longer need to shiver in freezing cold when paying for fuel at unmanned stations, but can process the payment transaction in the warmth of their car.

In 2016, we also succeeded particularly well in fuel sales and carwash operations. We were able to increase our market share in fuel sales, despite the fact that the monetary amount of sales decreased due to the reduced prices in the global market. The carwash operations also developed favourably in 2016, and we will be developing them further in the coming years.

The competitive advantages of the ABC chain include convenience, fast service, even quality and diverse selection of services. Strong and uniform chain operations will ensure that our customers can trust the services they receive at ABCs around Finland. The role of the more than 4,000 ABC professionals is invaluable in ensuring this.

The solid development of ABC continues. We renovate 5–10 service station stores annually and continuously develop our service offering with a keen ear to customers' wishes."

Antti Heikkinen, Chain Director, SOK Service station store and fuel sales chain management

 

S Group's service station store and fuel sales

2016

2015

2014

Outlets

446

444

439

Retail sales

1,543

1,609

1,774

Petrol sales market share, %

30.6

29.5

30.0

Diesel sales market share, %

13.9

13.1

13.0


The figures include the information of the ABC service station stores, Lähi-ABC stations, unmanned ABC stations and ABC-Delis as well as other service station stores and unmanned stations.

 

Travel industry and hospitality business

Sokos Hotels, Radisson Blu and S Group's restaurants offer diverse and experiential hotel and restaurant services for the varying needs of customers.

"In 2016, S Group's travel industry and hospitality business achieved excellent financial results and customer satisfaction.  The good outcome is a result of our long-term efforts to improve customer service, build the Sokos Hotels brand family and develop our restaurants.

We continuously develop new restaurant concepts in order to meet the changing needs of customers, and we renew our existing, traditional chains. In 2016, we began the transformation of the Fransmanni restaurants into the new Frans & les Femmes bistros and continued the overhaul of the Rosso chain. The Raflaamo.fi service has become Finland's most important restaurant portal over the course of a few years.

Hotels achieved a particularly good result in 2016, and this was also reflected in S Group's profit. We are developing our hotels to offer more personalised and experiential services, in accordance with customer wishes. Currently, S Group is also investing heavily in the renewal and expansion of the hotel network, as demonstrated by the renovations of the Original Sokos Hotel Presidentti and the Radisson Blue Seaside.

Regular personnel coaching is the foundation of this development. Good customer service and the resulting customer satisfaction are achieved by motivating our supervisors and allowing personnel to take responsibility. In 2016, Sokos Hotels were selected as the most trusted, valued and responsible hotel brand in Finland. For this, we want to thank both our personnel and our customers!

In 2017, Finland raises international interest, and the country's economy has taken an upward turn. The development of digital services, the exciting and evolving restaurants, as well as the diverse network of hotels will create a solid foundation for the future."

Harri Ojanperä, Chain Director, Senior Vice President, SOK Travel Industry and Hospitality Chain Management

S Group's travel industry and hospitality business

2016

2015

2014

Outlets

775

798

813

  Hotels

61

62

63

  Restaurants

714

736

750

Retail sales, EUR million

793

802

798

Hotel business market share in Finland, %*

25.8

26.9

26.2

Restaurant business market share in Finland, %**

TBA

16.4

17.8

*Source: Statistics Finland:

**Source: National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira. Includes only restaurants licensed to serve alcohol, located in the largest cities.

The outlet and retail figures include the data of the Sokos Hotels and Radisson Blu Hotels, restaurants and other hotel outlets, as well as the hotels in Russia and the Baltic countries.

Hardware trade

S Group's hardware trade includes the Kodin Terra and S-Rauta chains, which focus on building, renovation, interior decoration as well as yard and gardening.

"In 2016, the construction supply trade took a slight upward turn after a shrinking streak of four years, driven by a strong construction market in the greater Helsinki area. However, the comparable sales of S Group's hardware trade decreased slightly, since the construction volume continued to be mainly low in our network's area of influence.

In 2016, S Group's hardware trade focused on creating prerequisites for profitable and growing business operations in the retail of construction, yard and garden products. The major streamlining measures concerned the harmonisation of the product range in order to create synergy between different chains. Streamlining the chain management operations helped us meet changing customer needs in an agile manner. Competitive pricing was also one of the focus areas.

S Group has a committed customer base, which needs products and services for renovation and yard and garden as well. Utilising S Group's broad and extensive network in a sensible manner will make it possible to bring these services to customers more conveniently.

The next important area of improvement will be improving operative efficiency. By analysing customer needs, we will be able to offer a more targeted product range in the future and invest in the convenience of services both in the stores and online. "

Lasse Ketola, Vice President, DIY, Garden, Décor, S Group, SOK retail business chain management

S Group's hardware store

2016

2015

2014

Outlets

25

23

25

Retail sales, EUR million

197

184

207

The figures include the data of the Kodin Terra and S-Rauta chains. 

 

S-Bank

S-Bank is a Finnish in-store bank owned by S Group and LocalTapiola Group, with approximately 3 million customers. It offers customers extensive services for daily banking, savings, investing and the financing of purchases.

"The year 2016 was characterised by strong growth in S-Bank. During the year, S-Bank obtained more than 130,000 new customers, and 25,000 customers switched to using S-Bank as their main bank for salary payments. S-Bank's mortgage portfolio grew more than six times faster than the market. In addition, the number of mortgage applications reached record-high levels as a result of the publicity received by the extended mortgage of up to 45 years.

Several new products were introduced during the year. In February, a mobile refuelling service was introduced by S-Bank and the ABC chain for paying for fuel with a smart phone app. In April, a counting tool was released for comparing the benefits and costs of services offered by different banks. In October, FIM launched an impact investment project to support the employment of asylum-seekers, and in November, a Forest fund investing in forest property was introduced. In December, LocalTapiola's insurance products became available in the S-mobile application, and S-Bank also introduced to the market a mortgage with repayment period of up to 45 years, which will help keep monthly costs of home ownership reasonable.

S-Bank Group's operations were centralised, and its corporate structure was simplified further in 2016. In June, S-Bank acquired the remainder of the share capital of FIM Corporation.

At the end of 2016, S-Bank had more than 2.9 million customers using its free-of-charge basic banking services. They had more than 1.9 million S-Bank Visa cards. By the end of the year, 1.7 million customers had acquired banking IDs for electronic banking and access to S-mobiili. By the end of 2016, the S-mobiili app had been downloaded on nearly a million smart phones and tablet devices.

At the end of the year, S-Bank's total funds on deposit were EUR 4,547 million, and its total lending was EUR 3,492 million.

S-Bank Group's operating result in 2016 was EUR 22.3 million and its capital adequacy ratio was 15.1 per cent."

Pekka Ylihurula, Managing Director, S-Bank 

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