COVID-19 latest news from around the world

27 March 2020
In reaction to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Polish retailers and the government have started implementing several measures to slow the spread of infection. Retailers supporting health workers… Aldi has set aside staffed and self-service checkouts for health workers and public service employees only in all its stores. This will allow them to pay for their purchases without standing i...
27 March 2020
China is already working to return to a state approaching normalcy following the outbreak of coronavirus three months ago. Reopening for business Businesses affected by lockdowns have reopened and customers are cautiously returning to stores:  Shopping malls : after this week, most shopping malls will reopen to the public, with adjusted business hours of 10 am–10 pm Gyms : most...
27 March 2020
Defra has published two new posters, urging shoppers to behave responsibly through the Coronavirus period. The posters, in black and white versions, can be modified with individual retailer logos, if required. There is also an image available for use in electronic media – contact Defra for access. There is social media content on Facebook LINK and Twitter LINK , which businesses are u...
27 March 2020
With online grocery demand continuing to increase, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we look at how Kroger in the US is trialling a pickup only store. Alternative shopping methods With shoppers looking for alternative ways to shop for groceries, and online services finding it difficult to maintain service levels, Kroger has converted a store in Cincinnati to pickup only. The store is taking ord...
27 March 2020
George Eustice, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has published an open letter, thanking all who work in the food and grocery industry for serving the public during the Coronavirus outbreak. He writes: “… I am personally enormously proud and thankful for all the work that you have done in recent weeks, and will be asked to do in the weeks ahead. In many cases you...
27 March 2020
We look at the present impact of the pandemic on regional economic performance. As the US has become the new epicenter of the infection, an economic downturn becomes more likely An increase in the numbers of unemployed has been recorded in Canada and the US Food production and retail are set to weather the storm, subject to uninterrupted supply and adequate social security benefits ...
27 March 2020
The EU has instructed member states to take steps to improve the flow of goods across borders during the Coronavirus crisis. Border crossings must now incorporate “Green” lanes, which will allow freight of all kinds to pass with minimal delay or discrimination. Crossing a border should take no more than 15 minutes. States are also urged to suspend other measures which might disrupt the fl...
26 March 2020
On February 28, SPAR International released a document on Preparedness Planning to help its customers and partners respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Recognising consumer behavioural shifts SPAR outlined the anticipated consumer behaviour shifts:                       Avoidance of dining out along with shifting to more meals at home, especially where schools might be clos...
26 March 2020
In reaction to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Russian retailers and the government have started implementing several measures to slow the spread of infection. All non-essential stores in Moscow will temporarily close Moscow’s mayor announced measures to restrict the movement of people in the city by closing non-food stores, cafes and shopping malls for one week. The closures will begi...
26 March 2020
We look at the actions and responses of retailers across France as they look to support the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On Tuesday 17 March, France’s president Emmanuel Macron took the unprecedented decision of putting the country into complete lockdown to try to slow down the spread of the virus. It made France the third European country to take this step nationally, af...
26 March 2020
As the UK approaches the end of its first week under near lockdown, we look at how the grocery sector is adapting to new operating conditions. Improving safety for customers and colleagues Retailers have moved at pace to design and install safeguarding screens to protect customers and colleagues. To reduce the risk of transmission, some retailers are limiting the numbers of customers in-sto...
26 March 2020
With retailers expecting elevated demand levels to continue, although for most at slightly lower levels than recent weeks, we look at what changes are being made to support this and how they could shape food retailing in the future. 1. Range rationalisation: choice vs efficiency Most retailers are undertaking some form of range rationalisation, especially in high-demand categories. These in...
26 March 2020
Singapore and six other Pacific Rim countries have committed to work closely to keep their supply chains open during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand In addition to Singapore, the leaders of six other countries from the Pacific Rim have issued a joint statement that recognised the importance of not imposing export controls, tariffs ...
26 March 2020
We roundup the latest developments in India, amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Nestlé and Coca-Cola have announced the temporary suspension of parts of their operations in the country, amid the countrywide lockdown due to the epidemic, while Walmart’s Flipkart is to resume its online operations after a temporary halt. Nestlé in discussion with the authorities In a regulatory filing,...
26 March 2020
Leading north-west regional wholesaler, Parfetts has moved to a 24/7 picking operation to meet spiking delivery orders from its independent retail customers during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  Faced with unprecedented consumer demand independent retailers are purchasing in significantly increased volumes to meet these needs.  Parfetts’ traditional cash & carry business is also sharply...
26 March 2020
Tesco Malaysia has created a cheeky shopping guide for male shoppers as only heads of households are allowed to shop for the family during the lockdown period ordered by the government. Source: Tesco Malaysia Serving customers, a little better Shoppers have been posting photos of male shoppers struggling to buy the right products in supermarkets on social media as their wives are usua...
26 March 2020
Consumer goods company Unilever has announced a series of measures aimed at supporting consumers, communities and suppliers. Product donations, partnerships and education programmes Unilever is donating products such as soap, sanitiser, bleach and food worth at least €50 million to the COVID Action Platform of the World Economic Forum, whilst adapting its current manufacturing lines to prod...
26 March 2020
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, EU antitrust regulators have relaxed the competition law for suppliers to coordinate the distribution of scarce products. The competition law normally forbids retailers from exchanging information on their stocks, prices and sales under rules that target illegal cartels. However, the pandemic may require cooperation from retailers to ensure the ...
26 March 2020
The past week has been a time of unprecedented change for the UK’s foodservice operators as the government announced tighter social distancing guidelines that meant dine-in spaces had to close.  Takeaway and delivery are still allowed but the processes involved in providing these services raise concerns for the wellbeing of staff and customers. At the same time, however, the government also la...
25 March 2020
We look at the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the performance and operations of global suppliers. Unilever: supporting smaller suppliers Unilever will offer €500m of cash flow relief to support livelihoods across its extended value chain This includes early payment for its most vulnerable small and medium sized suppliers, to help them with financial liquidity The ...