Companies in the commerce sector have adopted successful measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Despite the six-month-long pandemic, stores have not made considerable changes to their opening hours, logistics chains or flows of goods. This is partly due to the responsible actions taken by the companies, as well as to active cooperation with the authorities. Throughout the pandemic, only a few dozen coronavirus cases have been detected among the staff in the commerce sector.
The sector wants to continue to operate responsibly, protect its staff and instruct customers in ways to make shopping safe. Safe shopping keeps the wheels of the economy turning.
“It is important to take care of your own and other people’s safety in stores, the same way you would do in other places. Working together and acting smartly, we can ensure a safe and pleasant experience. Thanks to good cooperation with our staff and customers, we managed to keep our stores open last spring, contrary to many other European countries,” says Minna Kokka, CEO of Suomalainen Kirjakauppa and chairperson of the committee for specialty and household goods trade in the Finnish Commerce Federation.
Nevertheless, March and April were difficult times in many sectors of specialty and household goods trade, and some companies continued to suffer in the summer. Fashion and book stores, the optical sector and jeweller’s shops were hit particularly badly by the coronavirus.
In general, the commerce sector expects to see growth this year, and the sales expectations in retail trade have picked up since the spring. Operators in the commerce sector follow official guidelines very closely and instruct their staff and customers accordingly. Various restrictions imposed by society have a big direct impact on the sector.
This is why the sector hopes to see risk-based restrictions, targeting places where the risk for contracting the virus can truly be reduced. In addition, clearer communication is needed to reduce general uncertainty.
“When deciding on restrictions, local and regional circumstances should be taken into account, when possible. We would also like the authorities and the Government to communicate clearly to ensure that the wheels of the Finnish economy continue in motion. Responsibly acting stores and their customers keep the economy moving,” says Janne Ylinen, CEO of Kokkolan Halpa-Halli Oy and chairperson of the committee for commerce and services in the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.
Minna Kokka, Chairperson of the committee for specialty and household goods trade, CEO of Suomalainen Kirjakauppa, tel. +358 40 145 4111, minna.kokka(at)suomalainen.com
Janne Ylinen, Chairperson of the committee for commerce and services in the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, CEO of Kokkolan Halpa-Halli Oy, tel. +358 20 718 2229, janne.ylinen(at)halpahalli.fi
The Finnish Commerce Federation represents commerce—the largest sector of economic life. Commerce employs around 300,000 people in Finland and accounts for approximately ten per cent of Finland’s GDP. The Federation has around 7,000 member companies and represents both retail and wholesale commerce in industrial policy and labour market lobbying. www.kauppa.fi
The Federation of Finnish Enterprises comprises 115,000 member companies, making it the largest federation in trade and business in terms of membership. It lobbies for the interests of Finnish small and medium-sized enterprises. Of the member companies, 50,000 are employers. They employ approximately 660,000 people, including the entrepreneurs. The employment figure is based on a calculation made in cooperation with Statistics Finland in 2018. The federation’s operations comprise 383 local organisations, 20 regional organisations and 59 sectoral organisations. www.yrittajat.fi/en