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Longer opening hours benefit big stores but harm small ones, figures suggest

Relaxed restrictions on shop opening hours, which parliament introduced at the start of this year, have led to a 20 percent fall in sales among small convenience stores, according to new data from the Grocery Trade Association.

Leena Lassila maksamassa ostoksiaan Prisman kassalla.
Image: Kalle Niskala / Yle

Relaxed restrictions on shop opening hours which came into force at the start of 2016 have boosted overall trade, but at the overwhelming expense of small businesses, new figures suggest.

Sales among small grocery stores fell by 19.6 percent in May compared to a year previously, according to data from the Finnish Grocery Trade Association. Medium-sized supermarkets also saw sales drop by around one percent.

However overall grocery sales increased by 3.4 percent during the year, suggesting that large stores have benefited from the liberalised opening hours introduced by the government.

The largest grocery stores reported a 10.8 percent growth, while others saw trade increase by 4 percent. Among hypermarkets the growth was 1.4 percent.

The changes come alongside a 1.2 percent fall in food prices in May compared to a year earlier.

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