With the UK in lockdown due to the government’s attempt to keep Covid19 infections low, and people restricted to their homes for all but essential journeys, what do the changes in the way we’re living mean for the independent retailer?

April 9, 2020
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The COVID-19 Effect

Important Note

This content represents a moment in time in a fast moving situation and naturally, some of the information may have evolved in the meantime. Our daily COVID-19 report covers the day-to-day impact of the lockdown and is available for free here.

With the UK in lockdown due to the government’s attempt to keep Covid19 infections low, and people restricted to their homes for all but essential journeys, what do the changes in the way we’re living mean for the independent retailer?

Restrictions on movement have inevitably caused changes, not just to the frequency of shopping trips but to the way that people shop. Supermarkets saw a rush on essential items early on and struggled to keep shelves full. Shoppers have turned instead to their trusted local stores. If car travel is only permissible for essential journeys, then the corner shop is the go-to for all other items. Shoppers appear to be reducing their need to go to the supermarket by getting urgent items from their local store (and avoiding the huge queues at the same time!)

Average Store Sales

Store Footfall and Basket Spend

From week commencing 16th March, we see the immediate impact of the Covid-19 lockdown. Initially transactions increase, but then slow the following week. There are fewer people in stores, but average spend across UK convenience stores has gone up from £6.71 before special measures, to £10.08 w/c 30rd March.

Likewise, there has been a reduced need for hot food and takeaway snacks– as commuters stay home and cook for themselves.

Children and families are participating in craft activities to keep busy, a category that saw sales increase in the second two weeks in March by 155.08% from the preceding two weeks.

Those stuck at home are finally getting around to the little jobs that don’t usually get completed, so hardware sales have seen a large increase, and with larger DIY stores not considered essential and only trading online.  Hardware category figures increase in the second two weeks in March by 43.16% from the previous fortnight.

One of the biggest advantages for the small retailer is their ability to respond quickly to a situation; stores have been sourcing new suppliers like local bakeries for flour and farms for fresh eggs. These stores always stock essential items like toilet rolls, flour, bread, milk and eggs and can respond quickly to changes in demand.

A lifeline for those who do not drive and for anyone who simply needs to top up on toilet roll, the nation’s convenience stores have proven their capacity to provide exactly what we need, when and where we need it.

Further free insights on the Covid19 Effect can be emailed to you weekly throughout the crisis; please email marketing@retaildata.co.uk

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