The retail sector has been growing steadily and remarkably in Finland during the past years. Chain stores, centralized sourcing and logistics are typical of the daily consumer goods trade in Finland. The retail sector in Finland is highly dominated by well-known chains, which is a common trend in all the Nordic countries. In order to be profitable, the trade needs large volumes to achieve sufficiently efficient operations in vast and sparsely populated countries. Weaker cost efficiency leads to higher prices, limited product ranges and less service. Foreign competition and the EU’s expansion to the Baltic countries link Finland to the EU’s internal market also in the field of daily consumer goods.

According to 2012 statistics, daily consumer goods account for the largest share, nearly 43 %, of retail sales. The second largest group are hardware products, which account for over 8 % of the total sales. The share of electronic and domestic appliances of the total turnover is 5.5 %. Department stores and hypermarkets also play an important role in the retail sector. In 2012, the total sales of the retail sector in Finland were EUR 38.2 billion, of which the share of department stores was 12 %.

The retail sector has been somewhat regulated in Finland but there have been major changes in the regulations recently. From December 2009 onwards, retail stores have been allowed to be open also on Sundays and grocery stores may be open 24 hours throughout the week except for national holidays. However, the retailing of some specific products − alcohol and medicine, for instance –is still relatively regulated and firms should familiarize with legislation before entering the market.

The liberalization of Sunday opening hours has proved to be good news for both consumers and stores in Finland. The sales of daily consumer goods on Sundays have now almost reached the same level as weekday sales. The relaxed opening hours were a helping hand to the retail sector as a whole, allowing it to plan its business activities and develop logistics with a longer term perspective. In 2012, the total value of daily consumer goods sales was EUR 16 billion.

There are a lot of opportunities for foreign companies in the Finnish retailing sector. The demand for luxury products and many specialty products is growing. In the Finnish market there are many kinds of consumer groups whose needs are filled by different kind of goods and services meaning that there is room for a wide range of retailers and service providers.