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K Group and pharma firm promise 1K jobs with new company

One of Finland's biggest retailers, the K Group, says it is joining forces with multinational pharmaceutical wholesaler Oriola-KD to set up 100 new health and wellbeing stores in coming years. The first ones are to open this year.

A new chain of so-called wellbeing service stores are to be opened by a joint company by the end of the year. Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

Trading sector giant K Group and pharmaceutical wholesaler Oriola-KD are establishing a joint company to run a new chain of stores.

The shops will sell products and services in health, cosmetics and wellbeing, the companies say – and promise 1,000 new jobs in the process.

If pharmacy policies can be changed to allow expansion, the as-yet-unnamed company says it will be involved in that market eventually, too.

The first 15 shops are to open at the end of the year. Competition authorities first have to accept the joint venture, which entails a base investment sum of 25 million euros.

K Group owns the K-chain of Finnish grocery stores and employs some 45,000 people, while Oriola-KD has a little over 2,800 workers. The pharma firm owns more than 300 pharmacies in Sweden and Latvia – and owns Sweden's third largest chain of pharmacies, Kronans Apotek.

The pharma company's history spans around a century: "Oriola became a part of Oriola-KD after the demerger of Orion Group," the company writes. "Orion acquired a majority holding in Sweden’s second-largest pharmaceuticals distributor, Kronans Droghandel AB, and Oriola and Kronans Droghandel were combined."