Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK market update w/e 12 April

Date : 14 April 2020

Nick Gladding

Senior Retail Analyst

In this article, updated daily, we summarise the latest responses to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK:

Multiples update:

  • Tesco releases annual results and updates on COVID-19: More normal shopping behaviour has resumed after a surge in demand for certain items in the first few weeks of the crisis caused sales uplifts of c.30%. Grocery home shopping capacity has been increased by 20% and will be expanded further to improve access for those on the UK Government's list of 110,00 clinically vulnerable and isolated people. The retailer has also produced forecast scenarios that estimate the cost of the pandemic to its UK business at between £650m and £925m. More details here

  • Tesco to open pop-up stores at NHS Nightingale hospitals: Construction of the first store has begun in Birmingham which is expected to open by the week. Others are planned for the London, Manchester and Harrogate Nightingale hospitals to provide NHS workers with 24 hour access to essential groceries

  • Tesco to donate one million meals to NHS workers: Tesco has joined SalutetheNHS, a campaign to deliver one million nutritious and ready-to-eat meals to NHS workers over the next three months. The scheme is aimed at NHS hospital workers who cannot leave their clinical areas during their 12 hour shifts and those self isolating at home. More details here

  • Sainsbury's lifts buying restrictions: Sainsbury's has lifted buying restrictions on thousands of products to help those buying on behalf of other people who can't reach stores, though limits remain on the most popular items including rice, pasta, UHT milk, antibacterial products and some tinned and frozen foods.  A new volunteer gift card and online voucher will also be launched next week

  • Asda sale on hold: Walmart's planned sale of its UK business has been paused due to the COVID-19 crisis, according to a press report citing sources involved in the process. More details here

  • Waitrose & Partners staff to get bonus for coronavirus 'sacrifices': All frontline staff are set to receive a recognition award of £25 for each week worked from April to June. The staff discount for shopping at Waitrose stores will also increase from 15% to 25% for the next 13 weeks before returning to a permanently higher level of 20%

  • Waitrose & Partners launches e-gift card for NHS volunteers: The card can be loaded with up to £500 and is designed for those shopping on behalf of elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating people. Waitrose and John Lewis are also giving away 50,000 Easter eggs and boxes of chocolates to NHS workers battling against the virus

  • M&S is working to support frontline NHS workers through its food and clothing divisions: This includes donating clothing to be used as scrubs, to form part of the NHS Nightingale uniform, and as care packs for discharged patients from the hospital. Twice-weekly food deliveries will support workers at St Mary's Great Ormond Street hospitals in London. As well as donations from the retailer, M&S is encouraging shoppers to support the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal every time they shop with their Sparks loyalty card.

  • M&S rolls out Mobile Pay Go to 50 more stores: M&S has doubled the number of stores to 100 where shoppers can use their smartphones to make payments, in a move that will help reduce the risk of virus transmission

Online update:

  • Morrisons partners with Deliveroo: Morrisons has launched a rapid ordering service in partnership with Deliveroo allowing shoppers to order from 70 essential itemsfor delivery within 30 minutes. The service will operate from 130 stores, covering one in four UK households. Items will be priced the same as Morrisons stores and there will be a flat rate delivery fee of £4.99

  • Sainsbury's prioritises vulnerable customers: Sainsbury's has matched an additional 150,000 customers from the Government database of elderly and vulnerable customers and is contacting them to offer priority delivery slots

  • Abel & Cole has launched a new delivery service, called 'Food on the Table' to redirect food previously destined for restaurants to retail customers. Two weekly subscription boxes are on offer – an £18 box of fresh fruit & veg, and a £20 box of pantry staples. The service is available to those not able to sign up as new customers to the organics specialist due to current restrictions

  • Booths launches click & collect service: see story here

Discount update:

  • Aldi and Lidl: See latest responses story here
  • Variety discounters: See latest responses story here

Convenience update:

  • McColl's partners with Deliveroo: McColl's is making a range of  'daily essentials' available through the Deliveroo app for delivery within 30 minutes. Initially the service will operate from 120 stores but coverage will be expanded to 300 stores nationwide. See story here

  • Midcounties Co-op launches delivery service: To use the service, vulnerable customers can contact the Midcounties Membership Team or their local store by phone. Customers are able to then select products from a list of basic essentials. The retailer will call back within four hours to let customers know what items are available, give a delivery window, and take payment over the phone

  • Central England Co-op introduces 10% discount for NHS staff. The discount will be available to those showing NHS ID cards at all of the retailer's 242 stores. NHS workers will also have priority access to stores

  • Costcutter launches pop-up stores at hospitals: In partnership with Compass Group, Costcutter has launched 20 pop-up stores in NHS hospitals that will be open throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The pop-up stores, which will be unbranded, are dseigned to provide NHS key workers with access to essential products. Restaurant staff at the hospitals will work in the stores.

  • SPAR partners with RVS to support volunteer shopping scheme: see story here

Food-to-go and out-of-home update:

  • UK food service operators back in business with new services: see story here

  • Greggs plans for all year lockdown: The fast growing food-to-go specialist has offered reassurance that by using government's Covid Corporate Financing Facility scheme, it has sufficient credit to continue trading even if it is unable to open its stores for the rest of the year

Drugstores update:

  • is offering three product bundles providing essential products for different needs. These comprise a healthcare bundle for £35, a baby bundle for £30, and a toiletries bundle also for £30. They include a mix of branded and private label products. They qualify for Boots' free delivery, and will be delivered faster than the retailer's current delivery promise, offering a quick, easy and safe way to top up on essentials. For more insight into how Boots is responding to the pandemic click here

  • Boots to make temporary store closures: Boots is to temporarily close around 60 stores at transport hub and shopping centre locations over the next week, with pharmacists from affected stores moved to busier branches

  • Superdrug introduces rapid home delivery for online orders. Partnering with third party Stuart, the service is available from over 300 stores to shoppers who live within an 2.5 mile radius. This builds on Superdrug's launch of 30 minute click and collect in 2019. Shoppers pay depending on distance and size and weight of the package, and can select a delivery slot as soon as one hour from placing the order

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