“Next three to six months” crucial for retailers – Pervez

The next few months are of huge importance for the independent retails channel as the UK moves out of lockdown, says Dawood Pervez.

The Bestway Wholesale Managing Director says as more people are encouraged out into communities and other restrictions stay in place, the time is now for retailers to make their mark.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement revealing a four-step plan for the nation to leave behind Covid restrictions will gradually mean more customers come through retailers’ doors – and it’s a chance to impress.

“There are a number of key factors to take into account, not least the timing of how lockdown restrictions will be eased,” said Pervez.

“The next three to six months will be very important to independent retailers and we would look to reassure our customers that we are here to support them every step of the way:

“Firstly, while regulations are easing around lockdown, it is clearly going to be a gradual easement with some unknowns along the way.  It is not looking likely that pubs will open before Easter, and when they do – it means that people will likely be sitting, or gathering outside, in order to remain distanced, which means by its very nature there will be limitations.

“Yes, people may be meeting in parks and outside which will help restore some life to our city and town centres which means more footfall, and more opportunity for retailers.

“With schools opening on 8 March, this will also mean increased ‘feet on the street’ in respect of impulse purchases (which have taken a big hit during the pandemic and throughout lockdown), with increased consumption of food to go, including fruit, snacks, soft drinks and confectionery.  That has to be good for the independent retailer serving their local communities.”

Bestway is offering its retailers a host of support to take advantage of the time, including consumer leaflets of key promotions and trends and using its JISP online-ordering app.

And Pervez says the opportunities are thick and fast in the coming months.

“The early indicators are that people will be steadily returning to the workplace – not everyone will continue to work from home,” he added.

“All the above reasons mean that for convenience retailers, there’s a lot to play for over the next three months. Don’t let’s forget we are then into Euro 2020, where there is likely to be increased levels of home viewing which means an increase in take-home packs and we anticipate that consumers will want to collect premium beers, wine and ciders from their local stores.

“For many consumers, there will inevitably be an abundance of caution in how they re-engage socially and professionally meaning their community stores will remain a real lifeline.

“And, we know from research undertaken by both the ACS Retailer Road Map and TWC’s Future of Convenience that around 47% of consumers are saying that they intend to continue to use their local convenience store post lockdown and remain loyal.”

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