In the wake of new government’ measures designed to reduce the rate of Coronavirus infections – alongside a return to full lockdown in certain regions – Dawood Pervez, MD of Bestway Wholesale, has called on suppliers to work with wholesalers and retailers to ensure fair distribution of stock to all.
He says: “We’re constantly monitoring changes in the economy, and in consumer shopping behaviours. And, the early indicators show that consumers may be looking to purchase more of key product lines over growing concerns that we will see a return to panic shopping earlier in the year.
“Whilst we do not expect consumer demand to reach the same levels that peaked in April and May of this year, it’s important that none of us forget the crucial role that local community stores have played throughout the Covid pandemic. Many of the UK’s localised independent retailers are a literal lifeline for consumers who are vulnerable, cannot get home delivery slots or simply need more help. Recent research showed a significant uplift of 45% in shoppers using their local independent retailer(*) and what none of us want to see, is a return to panic buying across retail in general. In particular, we want to avoid stock ‘shorting’ into independent retailers, which will simply exacerbate the challenges seen across grocery.
“Here at Bestway, we are planning ahead and working with suppliers, and listening to DEFRA for advice and to voice any concerns. We have put contingency plans in place alongside weekly, and sometimes daily, forward forecasting to ensure our customers’ needs can be met. We continue to operate a safe environment for our customers across our depots nationwide and, unlike many others, have continued with our pricing promotions throughout to ensure we give our retailers the optimum support and opportunity. Alongside safety in store under Covid-19 as a major factor, fair pricing has been highlighted as the most important issue for consumers when shopping in their local C-store(**).
“In order to give a voice and champion independent retailers, I would urge suppliers to remain diligent and aware of the importance of maintaining supplies into this vital sector, should grocery demand hit a spike in the days, or weeks, ahead”.