Further to the Prime Minister’s statement Monday 22.2.21, and commenting on how the easing of restrictions is likely to impact on convenience retailers, Dawood Pervez, Managing Director of Bestway Wholesale, says:

“There are a number of key factors to take into account, not least the timing of how lockdown restrictions will be eased.  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, whilst 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 March 8th, 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.

“The early indicators are that people will be steadily returning to the workplace – not everyone will continue to work from home.  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 the Euros (football) 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.

At Bestway we are supporting our retailers in a number of ways:

We are continuing to promote the value and vital role that community stores play and ensure that we give retailers a collective voice across Government’ departments and the industry as a whole.

We are providing our fascia stores and retail club members with consumer leaflets to promote the key promotions and trends that underly the key consumer trends to drive footfall to stores.  And, we are supporting our retailers through investing in progressive technology platforms to help grow and aid their business such as the JISP online ordering app which has seen those retailers who engaged with the app, enjoy increased basket sales of some 500% from online orders since we launched it at the end of 2020.

We have launched new pilots, exploring hybrid offers that are meeting the changing needs of consumers during this time, and working closely with our suppliers to ensure product innovation to meet fast-changing consumer needs”.

Last week’s acquisition of Costcutter (CSG) takes Bestway Wholesale’s estate to more than 3,795 stores in the UK, (including 2,682 fascia and 195 company owned).

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