Some grocery retailers faced recent criticism that they had unfairly benefited from rates relief, compared with non-essential retail stores that were forced to close during lockdown. While critics pointed out that grocers were able to stay open and make money, this narrative masks the fact that grocers and other essential retailers have racked up huge additional costs to cope with chaotic demand patterns, as well as rapidly evolving consumer behaviours and channel preferences created by the pandemic.
In reality, the changes have been non-stop for grocers and essential retailers alike — from recruiting temporary staff while full-time staff were furloughed or off work, to ramping up and securing core supply chains, to adapting home delivery networks to handle a 10-50x rise in orders. Many had to source hard-to-find items as well as make costly changes to store layouts, introducing hygiene and safeguarding capabilities, like installing screens at the checkout, and managing the flow of socially distanced staff and customers.
Frontline staff are in the eye of the storm
Whatever the challenge to systems and processes in making these changes, the real burden has fallen on staff, all of whom have been affected both at home and at work. And all these pressures are now walking straight into the next challenge: Christmas staffing as the industry tries to ready itself for an unprecedented peak trading period.
Read the full article from 365 Retail