Finnish supermarket chain sets new agenda

A new type of supermarket placing the emphasis on customer service is poised to hit Finland. Interiors, identity, graphics and uniforms have been designed by Adam Rawls Associates.

Valintatalo + will be an extension of existing Finnish supermarket chain Valintatalo. It will be “unusual”, according to consultancy managing director Adam Rawls, as it will focus on customer service and offer facilities for changing babies’ clothes, plus lockers and a fruit machine area. The stores will sell Valintatalo’s core ranges, with expanded product offers and more fresh food.

“Most Finnish supermarkets have few delicatessen counters. Everything is pre-packed and the environment is sterile. We’ve designed interactive speech bubbles and inviting graphics to liven the whole thing up,” says Rawls.

The consultancy won a credentials pitch against an unnamed UK designer. The main Valintatalo chain’s existing concept was designed by XMPR in 1992, and the store is believed to have approached a former XMPR designer to pitch for this project.

The Valintatalo + store sites were previously occupied by another chain, which was recently acquired by Valintatalo’s owners, the Finnish retail groups Elanto and Tradeka Oy.

The first of three pilot stores, a 2000m2 supermarket in Itäkeskus, will open in September. It will then be rolled out across 20 sites and new builds may follow.

RPA Europe has been unveiling its designs for the Helsinki flagship of CitySokos department store, set to open in September.

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