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Home BUSINESSDeregulating shop opening hours boosts trade
Tue, 02 Aug, 2016 12:00:32 AM
FTimes – STT Report, Aug 2
Shop opening hours of K-extra in Helsinki. File Photo – Lehtikuva.
The deregulation of shop opening hours has stimulated growth in retail trade, but the effects may be only temporary.
According to the Finnish Commerce Federation, sales for grocery stores and department stores have risen in the first half, despite food price competition, but retail sales growth threatens to dwindle to almost nothing in the future.
The reason is that consumer purchasing power growth will stop next year.
“Without the government’s promised income tax relief package, purchasing power will diminish and retail sales will dive into the red again next year. Right now, the projected growth is largely dependent on employment. If the number of employed in the economy does not grow, then retail sales growth may remain only a dream,” said Finnish Commerce Federation Chief Economist Jaana Kurjenoja.
The new possibilities for opening hours have been utilised mostly by groceries and department stores. The number of employees has also increased by about 2,500 compared to the first half of last year. 
But the situation has become more difficult for entrepreneurs.
“This is due both to the difficult situation for specialty retail entrepreneurs and the change in the grocery market. In the past, small stores and those owned by entrepreneurs benefited from the regulation of opening hours. But now, the labour input for entrepreneurs has been reduced and the need for additional workers and longer hours in larger supermarkets has grown,” Kurjenoja said.
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