All Valintatalo-stores become Siwa 2018

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Finnish convenience store giant Suomen Lähikauppa drops the Valintatalo brand and replaces it with Siwa.

”The new Siwa is, above all, a grocery store, which can better meet the local people in the area and the changing needs,” says Managing Director Ralf Holmlund.

Suomen Lähikauppa invested 29 million EUR in the store network in 2014. The amount increased significantly since 2013, when the investment was used for EUR 16 million.

Suomen Lähikauppa had at the end of the financial year 2014 a total of 662 stores, of which 516 were Siwa, 145 Valintotalo and 1 Euromarket store. 19 new Siwa were opened in 2014 and the Group aims to open 20 more during 2015 and continue the renovation program started.

All the Group’s stores will be moved into a single brand, when all Valintatalo has been converted to Siwa at the end of the year 2018.

”We want to be the best convenience store in Finland. We have tackled the needs of consumers and consumer understanding, and built a more functional concept for Siwa. The new Siwa is, above all, a grocery store, which can better meet the local people in the area and the changing needs. Customers have received the new concept well, which is reflected in the significant increase in refurbished stores,” Managing Director Ralf Holmlund says.

Suomen Lähikauppa’s 2014 net sales were 999.2 million EUR (2013:  1,011.3 M). About half of the decline in net sales is said to be due to the extensive renovation program, as shops lost trading days. But the decline in turnover was also affected by the general weakness in consumer demand.

”We have invested a lot in the development of the stores, and we managed to slightly increase our market share in the local store segment, despite difficult market conditions. But we can not be fully satisfied with the result, with this difficult market situation we have not fully reached the growth targets we set up”, Ralf Holmlund commented.

Suomen Lähikauppa (Finland’s local shops) focuses purely on the convenience store business and has  about a third of the market share. The convenience store segment (lees than 400 sqm store size) accounts for more than 20 percent of total Finnish grocery market.

”Siwa outlets and Valintatalo’s  main asset is their location close to the people. The benefit to our customers is, above all, the possibility to shop quickly and effortlessly close – with long opening hours,” Ralf Holmlund said.

Many trends to create the long-term neighborhood stores for strengthening favorable conditions, as

The increase of aging of population and urbanization means a greater need for convenience store services. E-commerce growth has also brought a new need for the the corner shop, when the packages is applied more and more often on their own in the nearby shop.

”The world of convenience stores are a big phenomenon. As aging population and environmental awareness grows, people appreciate the nearbytrade, and does not need to go by car,” Ralf Holmlund said.