Investing €120 million in store network this year – K Group revamps its grocery stores based on tailored store-specific business ideas

K Group is investing heavily in updating its stores: in 2021, investments in the store network will total €120 million. In grocery stores, the investment focus is on tailored store-specific business ideas that complement the competitive advantages of the store chains. The latest store to undergo an overhaul is K-Citymarket Tammisto in Vantaa. Each store update sets the bar higher, with K Group’s grocery stores constantly introducing exciting innovations to the Finnish retail scene.

In between 2015 and 2020, K Group invested nearly €1 billion in its store network, and significant investments will continue in upcoming years, with some 100 stores undergoing remodelling in 2021 alone. Stores are being remodelled all over Finland, but the main focus is on growth centres.

“Replicating the same store model across an entire store chain does not work, in our view. We need the customer insight of each individual K-retailer so each store can find its own unique competitive advantages. This is why our grocery stores operate under store-specific business models, with local K-retailers adding their own strengths to the chain concept,” explains Ari Akseli, President of Kesko’s grocery trade division.

K Group has set the bar high, especially after K-Citymarket Järvenpää was named IGD 2019 Store of the Year. Each K-retailer wants to create selections and surroundings that meet the expectations of their customers. A customer may well be impressed by one brilliant K Group grocery store, yet still be dazzled by the unique concept of another. The latest store to undergo a major overhaul is K-Citymarket Tammisto in Vantaa, Southern Finland.

K-Citymarket Tammisto in Vantaa underwent a complete redesign this year.

“We have completely redesigned the store based on customer expectations and customer data. We started off at product level, examining which products our customers truly want and buy. We then built a genuinely inspiring store milieu around those products. The key to creating an inspiring grocery store like this is customer insight,” says the retailer of K-Citymarket Tammisto Kimmo Sivonen.

Finnish grocery stores are world class – the bar is constantly set higher and higher

As proof of the success of store-specific business ideas, Finnish grocery stores can now be considered world-class and they have even garnered attention internationally. The tight competition in the Finnish grocery trade sector is spurring on innovation, and K Group wants to maintain its forerunner position.

International grocery trade trends at the moment include the blurring line between traditional grocery stores and foodservice operators, locally produced food, sustainability, and digital solutions that help consumers.

“We are modernising our stores based on customer data, and we offer K-retailers tools that enable them to easily use that data at local level. We focus on sustainable high-quality selections that set us apart, easy shopping, individuality, and prices. Our new products and product ranges based on popular Finnish restaurant brands have been very popular,” says Ari Akseli.

K-Citymarket Tammisto underwent a complete top to bottom overhaul, which included new fittings, rearranged departments and entirely new service concepts. Machinery and technical solutions, such as refrigerating equipment, were also updated, with a switch to LED lighting as well. The store will use new digital displays to offer customers more inspiration and information, and digital price tags which mean an end to incorrect prices.

“The biggest change can be seen at our service counter and café, which now offer customers a variety of new options, such as Italian-style pizza alongside the already hugely popular Korean bao buns. In addition to more traditional options, our dry aging cabinet now offers customers dry-aged Jack Daniels entrecôte. The store also hosts the first in-store brewery in a European hypermarket. The brewery will begin operations in upcoming weeks, with customers able to sneak a peek at the beverages in progress from the café or our totally revamped beers department. In the fruit and vegetable department, we have joined forces with Järvikylä to house an herb garden, enabling customers to buy herbs that are as fresh as if they came direct from a Järvikylä greenhouse,” says Sivonen.

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