Most shops are open Monday–Saturday from 9 or 10am to 5 or 6pm and Sunday from 12 to 6pm. Grocery stores and department stores stay usually open later, till 9 or 10pm. Small items, sweets, magazines etc. can be bought in kiosks or convenience stores, which stay open late in the evenings. Please note that the cash payments in Euros are rounded off to the nearest 5 cents in cash payments as the 1 and 2 cent coins are not in use in Finland.
In some shops you will have to take a number and wait in a queue until it is your turn to be served. Look for a machine that dispenses pieces of paper with a number. These will typically be pharmacies (for prescriptions only), fresh meat and fish counter in the supermarket, banks, doctor’s office, hospital emergency and some post offices.
There are two main chain supermarkets in Finland. The K-market chain denotes the size of the supermarket with four different classifications: K-Extra, K-Market, K-Supermarket and K-Citymarket (listed from smallest to largest). The S-group has different chain stores such as Prisma, S-market, Alepa and Sale. In addition to these, Lidl, for example, has several shops in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
Medicines are sold only at pharmacies (apteekki in Finnish) this includes over-the-counter items such as cold remedies and aspirin or paracetamol. Most pharmacies display a notice giving the address of the nearest pharmacy on night duty.
There are two main bookstore chains in Finland: Suomalainen Kirjakauppa (literally Finnish Bookstore) and Akateeminen Kirjakauppa (literally Academic Bookstore). There are also many smaller bookstores around.
Verkkokauppa.com is a large online electronics shop with reliable deliveries to nearest post office. They also have a big store in the Jätkäsaari area of Helsinki. You can access the store easily with tram no 9.
Alko, the State Alcohol Company, has a monopoly on the sale of wines and spirits. Opening hours may vary depending on the shop. Alko shops are closed on public holidays. Medium-strength beer and low-alcohol wine is also sold in supermarkets and other shops, but full-strength beer is only available at Alko shops. The age limit for the purchase of beer and wine is 18, and for stronger drinks 20. Note that driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly forbidden.
You may need to buy some household items and furniture when you arrive since most of the student housing is unfurnished. Basic cutlery and dishes, linen, small items such as lamps you can find, for example, from Citymarket (e.g. in Ruoholahti and Itis in Helsinki; Sello and Iso Omena in Espoo) and Prisma. Furniture can be bought from e.g. Kodin1 (in Kaisaniemi, Helsinki) or IKEA in Espoo and Vantaa. IKEA also provides four free bus services from four different locations in Helsinki and Espoo.
Inexpensive or even free second hand furniture and household items can be found from e.g. Aalto Sharetribe and reuse centres (Kierrätyskeskus) or fleamarkets. There is also a small Recycling centre, run by the Student Union, on Otaniemi Campus.
When leaving back home from Finland, consider bringing also you own used furniture and other items there or to a reuse center instead of throwing them away!