After 120 years, the S group has become a giant and is anticipating profitability in online food trade.


After 120 years, the S group has become a giant and is anticipating profitability in online food trade.

In a span of 120 years, the S group has evolved into a dominant force in the grocery store industry. Hannu Krook, the current CEO of SOK, which owns half of Finland’s kingdom, reflects on the growth of the company. From owning Sokos Hotels to controlling close to 50 percent of the grocery trade market, S Group’s influence is far-reaching.

As Krook sits at an old table, reminiscent of the Big Leader’s table, he reflects on the changes that have taken place since the company’s inception in 1904. Back then, Finland was still part of the Russian Empire, and cooperative stores were a lifeline for many living in the countryside. Simple goods like salt, sugar, flour, coffee, and nails were staples in these early stores.

However, over the years, the landscape has changed. With about a thousand stores now and an array of food products like prepared foods, meats, candies, and milk, the S Group has adapted to the modern consumer demands. Despite the changes, some things remain constant, like coffee being among the most purchased items.

Krook acknowledges the challenges of today, such as overeating, while in the past hunger was a prevalent issue. Through strikes, crises, and changing economic conditions, the S Group has evolved to meet the needs of the times. The cooperative’s focus on joint purchases, advice, and production plants has been central to its success.

With a strong emphasis on innovation and development, Krook has steered the S Group towards a digital future. By investing in online shopping platforms and distribution centers, the company aims to stay ahead of the curve. While online sales currently represent a small percentage of grocery sales, Krook believes in the potential for growth in this area.

Despite challenges such as market concentration and potential tax increases, Krook remains focused on maintaining reasonable prices for consumers. As the S Group continues to navigate the evolving landscape of the grocery industry, Krook’s leadership and vision will shape the future of the company.

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