Government report on the future of the retail sector
The Government Programme of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government for 2019–2023 included an entry that a report is to be prepared on the future of the retail industry in order to allow strategic long-term development of the sector.
The Government report on the future of the retail sector was related to the ongoing structural change in the retail sector in Finland and the global transformation of retail structures. After the entry was made in the Government Programme, changes in the operating environment beginning in spring 2020 also contributed to the transformation of the sector.
The aim of the report on the future of the retail sector was to create a situation picture of the current state and outlook for the retail sector and to make proposals to support the political decision-making for the long-term strategic development of the sector. Another objective was to create a vision and scenarios for the retail sector for 2032.
The report focused on consumer sales (products and services), including the chain from wholesalers to the sale of fast-moving consumer goods. The report covered six topics related to the structural change in trade: 1) consumer behaviour, 2) employment, education and skills, 3) regional development and security of supply, 4) digitalisation, 5) climate change and corporate responsibility, and 6) functioning markets and promotion of entrepreneurship. The report span until 2032.
Preparation took place with interest groups
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment was responsible for preparing the Government report on the future of the retail sector. The preparation of the report was the responsibility of the Minister of Economic Affairs, and the work was carried out together with the administrative branch of the Minister of Employment.
The Government-appointed parliamentary monitoring group, which included representatives of all parliamentary groups, was chaired by Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment appointed a steering group to support the preparation of the report. Chaired by Director-General Ilona Lundström from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the steering group consisted of the following organisations: Finnish Commerce Federation, Finnish Chamber of Commerce, Consumers’ Union of Finland, Pellervo Coop Center, Service Union United (PAM), Family Business Federation, Central Union for Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions, Federation of Finnish Enterprises, Association of Finnish Technical Traders, Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of the Environment, and Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.
The working group of public officials and experts was chaired by Natalia Härkin, Ministerial Adviser from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and it consisted of the following organisations: Aalto University School of Business, University of Tampere, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of the Environment, Business Finland and the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority.
Report and parliamentary proceedings
On 10 November 2022, the Government submitted its Report on the future of the retail sector to Parliament (Press release of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment).
The report provided information on the sector and development proposals for the next ten years. The aim is for the Finnish retail sector to succeed nationally and internationally in the future too.
The report submitted to Parliament contains a total of 38 development proposals for the six themes, which are divided into three priority areas. The first area focuses on national development work that responds to structural changes and a transformation of the operating environment by creating new and by developing existing national systems, operating models and regulations to promote the retail sector’s renewal and growth potential Priority area 2 focuses on implementing the structural changes of the retail sector at the national level by ensuring sufficient resources for the renewal, growth and internationalisation Finally, the third area emphasises international advocacy work both in and outside the EU.
The report contains a vision and scenarios for the retail sector in 2032. The vision emphasises the efforts to improve the sector’s ecosystem, an operating environment that supports the sector’s reform, the sector’s attraction and retention, and corporate responsibility. The three scenarios are: 1) internationally competitive retail trade that has undergone an ecosystem reform, 2) retail trade that has suffered a competitive disadvantage, and 3) retail trade that has lost its competitiveness.
In Parliament, the Government Report on the future of the retail sector (VNS 12/2022 vp) was in referral debate on 8 December 2022 (Parliament press release), after which the report was sent to the Commerce Committee. Information on the proceedings on the matter is available on Parliament’s website.
According to Parliament’s communication EK 87/2022 vp, Parliament decided, on the basis of section 33, subsection 2 of the Constitution, to terminate its work after the end of the plenary session of 3 March 2023. On 29 March 2023, the President of the Republic declared that the work of Parliament for the 2019–2022 parliamentary term had ended. In accordance with section 68 subsection 2 of Parliament’s rules of procedure, the above-mentioned communication contained the matters that have lapsed. According to section 3 of the title of the Government reports, the Government report on the future of the retail sector has lapsed.
Natalia Härkin, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 047 168, natalia.harkin(at)gov.fi