Convenience retailers and wholesalers have an “unbelievable opportunity to reconnect” with communities as consumer habits change says Dawood Pervez.
The Bestway Wholesale managing director told TWC Sound Bites he thinks there will be long-term changes to the way people shop even as Covid-19 restrictions begin to relax – and local stores are in line to benefit.
Some of this will be triggered by the impact of the nation careering into a recession, but while Pervez believes the full pain of the economic fall has yet to be felt, he sees chances for independent businesses within that.
“I think convenience or local retailing has had an unbelievable opportunity to reconnect with the communities they serve and for those communities to really appreciate the value of their local store,” said Pervez.
“Because we’re going to enter a more economically tough environment, more people will choose to shop local because travelling to shop elsewhere has other expenses associated with it.
“It’s really important for suppliers and manufacturers to understand you can’t really talk about convenience versus main shops, you need to talk about local shops versus big shops, and fundamentally consumers are looking for the same value in either location. If that’s enabled by our supply chains, why not?”
Listen to Pervez’s full interview on TWC’s Sound Bites
Despite Pervez’s optimism, there will undoubtedly be challenges along the way as Britain – and the world – makes steps to recover from the coronavirus outbreak, with a lot of uncertainty over what comes next.
The Bestway boss does, however, point towards indications that trends in convenience inspired by coronavirus may well continue and should be taken advantage of.
“It’s very hard to predict the future, but it’s fair to say that shopping habits were already heading in a certain trajectory and that was one of shopping more little and more local,” Pervez added.
“I think with a recession that has yet to really bite, the pain is yet to come. Right now, the big stores are experiencing massive basket spend, but I think that will start reducing and I think consumers will start managing their cashflow better and more tighter, as in shopping more little, more local.
“I do believe independent retailers or local stores have seen a massive shift in format, whether it be instead of a can of coke, it’s one and a half litres or more multipacks. They’re selling more future consumption products and larger pack sizes. While I do think that’s not necessarily going to be the level it is right, it will certainly be increased to pre-Covid.”
Watch the full interview on TWC’s Sound Bites, which includes chats with a host of industry figures.