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Siwas will in the future be open on special holidays as well. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Finland steps closer to a unified Europe after the parliament on Tuesday voted 145-31 in favour of free opening hours for retail stores and barbers and hairdressers.

The retail chains in Finland were quick to praise the decision that will revoke the current law, which regulates the opening hours among others based on the stores’ size and selection of goods.

S-Group announced that it will [highlight color=#00BFFF ]extend the opening hours[/highlight] of its [highlight color=#00BFFF ]Prismas, S-markets and Sale stores.[/highlight]

The Prismas with the heaviest traffic will be open six times per week from 7 to 23, on Sundays from 10 to 23.

“The customers should be able to choose when they visit the store,” Ilkka Alarotu, the director of assortments and pricing at S-Group, said in a bulletin. “A smoother everyday routine will free more time to the family and own doings.”

Suomen Lähikauppa Oy, which owns over 500 Siwas and Valintatalo stores, already provides long opening hours in most of its shops. [highlight color=#00BFFF ]Next year the stores are open on special holidays as well.[/highlight] The company will also [highlight color=#00BFFF ]extend the shopping hours of its 25 Valintatalo markets.[/highlight]

[highlight color= #00BFFF ]Kesko[/highlight], the owner of [highlight color=#00BFFF ]K-markets[/highlight], and the German retailer[highlight color=#00BFFF ] Lidl are researching whether their customers have a need for extended opening hours.[/highlight]

Read also:  Siwa cuts prices of several dozen products and Valintatalo and Euromarket too

The changes are to become effective as soon as possible, latest in February 2016.

The extended opening hours will provide more flexibility to the personnel of S-Group, believes Alarotu. Evening and weekend hours mean in addition to more extensive working hours “better opportunities for the employees to earn money.”

Finnish Commerce Federation, the nationwide lobbying organisation aiming to promote Finnish commerce, welcomes the reforms. For example, the opening hours of the stores in Sweden, Estonia and Denmark have been free for years.

“The decontrol of regulations is a good decision. Now we are trusting in the storekeepers’ knowledge of when their customers are using their services,” said Juhani Pekkala, CEO of the Finnish Commerce Federation. “In a weak economy the reforms open more opportunities for employment and growth.”

Sources: S-Group, Suomen Lähikauppa Oy, Kesko, Lidl, The Finnish Commerce Federation


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