29.05.2020 - Company

How retail is responding to the coronavirus

Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, essential retailers such as supermarkets have remained open.
Their employees are working incredibly hard to ensure the nation can access food and drink and other vital supplies, including medicine and household items. For that we thank them.

What’s more, the well-documented panic buying crisis at the start of lockdown has now abated, with many of the key items that were stockpiled by shoppers – including toilet roll – now fully replenished on-shelf.

As one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of household paper products, we have observed a number of reasons why panic buying has calmed.

Firstly, by working in closer collaboration than ever before with retail partners, manufacturers tackled panic buying head on, especially to source vital raw materials. You can read how WEPA UK did this on our previous blog.

Secondly, life under lockdown in the UK is now the new normal – shoppers rode the initial wave of uncertainty and now the way we shop has fundamentally changed.

Led by the major supermarkets, retailers successfully implemented social distancing and hygiene amenities to facilitate safer shopping trips.

But, according to Kantar, while shopping trips remain at record-high levels, people are limiting their visits to stores while restrictions remain in place.

In fact, shoppers continue to favour convenience and online channels – either to avoid travel or any contact at all.

As we move into the next phase of lockdown, it will be interesting to see if customers shift back to making more physical shopping trips.

Major supermarkets have set the template for safer shopping during the coronavirus crisis. So, following the recent announcement by the Government that non-essential retail can begin to open in June, we hope what the retail sector has done to date continues to increase public confidence.

We can only wait and see. For more, be sure to follow WEPA on LinkedIn.

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