S Group

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S Group
Cooperative
Industry Retail, Horeca
Founded 1904; 113 years ago (1904)
Headquarters Helsinki, Finland
Key people
Arto Hiltunen (Chairman of the board)
Products Groceries, hardware, consumer durables, services.
Revenue €10.544 billion (2007, including subsidiaries)
€7.813 billion (2007, excluding subsidiaries)[1]
Profit €58 million (2007, excluding subsidiaries)[1]
Number of employees
35,899 (2007)[1]
Website www.s-kanava.fi
S Group headquarters in Vallila, Helsinki.

The S Group (Finnish: S-ryhmä, Swedish: S-gruppen) is a Finnish retailing cooperative organisation with its head office in Helsinki.[2] Founded in 1904, it consists of 22 regional cooperatives operating all around Finland in the markets for groceries, consumer durables, service station, hotel and restaurant services, agricultural supplies, and car sales. The full formal name of the nationwide cooperative organisation is Suomen Osuuskauppojen Keskuskunta (The Central Finnish Cooperative Society) abbreviated as SOK. It is engaged in close competition with Kesko, with which it shares an oligopolistic position in many of the markets it operates in.

The group has businesses in Finland, Estonia and Russia. S Group also had businesses in Latvia and Lithuania, but announced withdrawal from these markets in May 2017.[3]

The organisation's member (loyalty) card is called S-Etukortti.

Ownership[edit]

A client can invest a small sum on the local co-operative and become a client-owner. (The exact sum is decided by the local co-operative board and varies significantly depending on local conditions.) A client-owner gets a membership card, S-Etukortti, which functions as a debit or credit card and gives access to special client-owner bargains. For the sums spent in S Group stores, Bonus is paid back to the client into the account at S-Bank. The Bonus percentage varies from 1% to 5% depending on the sum spent. S-Bank pays an interest that is competitive with interests paid by general banks into savings accounts. S-Etukortti is not a regular "loyalty card" as it represents actual monetary investment and the return is formally profit, not discount.

Corporate[edit]

35 members of parliament in 2012 were representatives in the S Group or Tradeka (Siwa) corporate governance.[4]

Local co-operatives[edit]

The S Group consists of 22 regional co-operative enterprises and 13 local co-operative enterprises. In total, these had 1.7 million individual members in 2007, a number that has grown from 1.2 million in 2003. The revenue from members was 6.8 billion and 263 million of Bonus was paid.[5]

Supermarkets[edit]

The S Group operates four distinct chains of supermarkets:

  • Sale – a chain of small grocery stores, mainly located in the countryside, small towns and suburbs with an emphasis on service rather than selection. Sale stores often only provide everyday groceries. There are about 240 Sale stores in Finland.
  • Alepa – this is the equivalent for Sale in the Greater Helsinki region – there are about 110 Alepa stores in Helsinki and the neighbouring cities.
  • S-market – larger supermarkets with a better selection of goods for sale, and often providing additional services. This is the largest of the S Group's supermarket chains, with nearly 400 stores around Finland.
  • Prisma – a hypermarket chain with about 90 stores around Finland, Estonia and Russia in major cities.

The largest sales revenues are from S-market's (49%) and from Prisma's 39%.[5]

The S Group's supermarkets retail the general private brand Rainbow, Kotimaista for products made in Finland and the no-frills X-tra range in partnership with Coop Trading—a Nordic purchasing organisation for Co-operatives. Non-food products are marketed under the House name.

The S Group has grown significantly in Finland in recent years, growing both organically and by acquisition.

SOK mill in Toppila, Oulu, Erkki Huttunen (1929).

Modernist architecture[edit]

SOK has a key position in the history of Finnish architecture due to its policy in the late 1920s and 1930s of designing cutting-edge Modernist architecture, epitomized by a Functionalist aesthetic of white buildings.[6] The key architect designing for SOK in the initial years was Erkki Huttunen (1901-1956), who designed for the company buildings at all scales, from grain silos and mills to local village shops. Among his most best known works for SOK is the Toppila mill (1929) and SOK Offices and Warehouse (1937-38) in Oulu, the SOK Offices and Warehouse (1931) in Rauma, and the Aitta Cooperative Shop (1933) in Sauvo. Today, many of these buildings are protected by law.[7]

Other fields[edit]

The S Group also operates the Sokos chain of department stores, ABC service stations, the hotel chain Sokos Hotels, several brands of restaurants such as Rosso, Sevilla and Amarillo, the Agrimarket chain, which sells agricultural and DIY supplies, and a number of car dealerships for Peugeot.

S-Bank[edit]

The S Group operates Finland's first so called supermarket bank, the S-Bank (S-Pankki Oy)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c S-ryhmä ja SOK-yhtymä 2007 - Kansi
  2. ^ "Contact information." S Group. Retrieved on 28 September 2012. "Fleminginkatu 34"
  3. ^ (in Lithuanian) ""Prisma" traukiasi iš Lietuvos". 15min.lt. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "S-puolue" ja "Siwa-puolue" aktiivisina Arkadianmäellä yle 26.11.2012
  5. ^ a b http://www.digipaper.fi/sok-yhtyma/13324/
  6. ^ Nikula, Riitta, Architecture and Landscape - The Building of Finland. Helsinki: Otava, 1993.
  7. ^ Jokinen, Teppo (1992). Erkki Huttunen liikelaitosten ja yhteisöjen arkkitehtina 1928–1939. Jyväskylä Studies in the Arts, 41. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän yliopisto.

External links[edit]

Media related to S-ryhmä at Wikimedia Commons

  • S-Kanava – The company portal
  • S-Kanava – The company portal (in Finnish)
  • S-Kanava – The company portal (in Swedish)