COVID-19 latest news from around the world

20 March 2020
Commentary from around the UK food and grocery industry, acknowledging the massive sales spikes seen in the sector in the last two weeks, have flagged how demand is driving footfall to big stores above all.  While online has seen unprecedented levels of ordering, big stores remain substantially the largest channel in the UK market by volume, and are proving the key destination for meeting shopper...
20 March 2020
Leading UK convenience retailer Co-op has announced it will create 5,000 new roles in a bid to provide temporary employment for workers being laid off in the hospitality industry.  The move, comes as the UK hospitality sector bears a significant impact from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency as customers avoid restaurants, pubs and cafes in line with government advice. Recruitment procedure ...
20 March 2020
From next week, the government will temporarily relax some elements of Competition Law to enable retailers to work together and share resources.  This announcement comes as the government confirmed that it would temporarily relax drivers’ hours rules and relax plastic bag charges for online deliveries. Sharing data and pooling resources The changes will enable retailers to share data on sto...
20 March 2020
We look at Walmart’s plan to recruit 150,000 temporary workers in the US and how it’s supporting its existing workforce with a special cash bonus. Fast-track recruitment process Following a significant surge in demand through both its stores and online grocery service, Walmart is planning to hire 150,000 associates to work in its stores, clubs, distribution centres and fulfillment centres. ...
19 March 2020
We look at how General Mills is taking learnings from Asia and flexing its approach as it responds to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Store traffic remains down c.60% in Asia As one of the first suppliers to report quarterly results amid the current Coronavirus pandemic, General Mills shared several insights into the impact on its performance. In China, around half of its Haagen-Dazs s...
19 March 2020
UK retailers are taking immediate action to address the challenges created by the COVID-19 outbreak. In this article we round up the latest initiatives from the sector. Prioritising vulnerable customers in-stores Sainsbury's has set aside the first hour of trading in every supermarket for elderly and vulnerable customers. For all other customers, its supermarkets will open one hour later th...
19 March 2020
Due to higher demand than can be met, Ocado has announced it will temporarily suspend access to Ocado.com. Temporary suspension The retailer will suspend its service for a few days in order to make some changes in order to better serve customers, with a particular focus on the vulnerable and elderly. Ocado said existing customers with orders will still receive them, with deliveries to mo...
19 March 2020
In a letter to customers, Co-op’s CEO Steve Murrells has explained how the retailer is responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and the role the business will play in supporting customers and colleagues. Key points: Food stores Staff are working round the clock to keep food stores stocked, clean and safe Investigating options to make sure the most vulnerable get the foo...
19 March 2020
The impact the COVID-19 outbreak is having is unprecedented, with retailers and manufacturers around the world dealing with a sudden sharp increase in demand for goods. We know retailers are highly effective at dealing with significant changes in trade when given time to plan. However, time is a luxury the current situation has not afforded, and this is reflected in what’s being seen at the sh...
19 March 2020
We have all seen the media coverage of the stockpiling activity that has been taking place around the country as a result of the constantly evolving situation around Coronavirus (COVID-19). This activity is a very visible sign of the concern which shoppers are feeling however, these are not the only changes that are taking place. In this blog I will summarise five key changes we are seeing in sho...
19 March 2020
As government advice and consumer reaction to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic in the UK changes rapidly, food-to-go operators are adapting. Here are the latest responses to the situation from the leading companies: McDonald's  From 5am today (19th March) all restaurants will close seating areas and temporarily move to being takeaway, Drive Thru and McDelivery only Toilets and h...
19 March 2020
The Chinese oil giant is offering customers a novel way to buy fresh food and grocery amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Buying grocery from a gas station with zero contact Sinopec Group, the world's largest oil refining conglomerate, started selling fresh produce in its gas stations through its convenience store banner, Easy Joy, in February. The move comes as online retailers, s...
19 March 2020
Suppliers are reacting quickly to support health and medical services fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as helping provide shoppers with products that help them too. LVMH to produce hand sanitiser free of charge for hospitals Due to the shortage of hand sanitiser gel in France, LVMH CEO, Bernard Arnault, has asked the group’s health and beauty factories to start producing h...
18 March 2020
Amazon has announced initiatives it will take to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, whilst also supporting those directly and indirectly impacted by the virus. 100,000 new roles Amazon is creating 100,000 new full and part-time roles across its global business in its fulfilment centres and delivery network. This initiative aims to meet the increasing demand for Amazon’s products and servic...
18 March 2020
Iceland has announced it is encouraging stores to introduce priority shopping hours to allow the elderly and vulnmerable to shop when it's quieter, where possible. Meeting shoppers needs Priority hours for participating stores will be; Iceland: the first hour of each day The Food Warehouse: 8am - 9am each day  Managing director Richard Walker has said; "We are encouraging o...
18 March 2020
The UK government has granted permission for pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways as part of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Planning rules relaxed Planning rules will be relaxed so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the outbreak to serve people having to stay at home.   The new planning measures will be introduced as soon as possible and will a...
18 March 2020
With ecommerce struggling to cope with high levels of demand, the physical store remains the main destination for many shoppers. Staff in stores are in direct contact with shoppers and so are at risk. It’s key to put these staff at the heart of your crisis management to protect them as they are paramount in providing food to people. Key points to consider In badly affected markets, su...
18 March 2020
Restaurant and food-to-go operators in many countries around the world are having to adapt to new advice about social distancing in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Here is a summary of the latest actions some of these operators are taking: Focussing on delivery In China, the delivery sector has reportedly quadrupled its turnover in the last two months, according to a rep...
18 March 2020
Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, reported on 15th March that the number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections had risen by 21 to 117. Retailers have taken different approaches to look after the well-being of their shoppers. There is no consistent recommendation on how best to prevent the spread virus spread around the world.  Keeping staff healthy  All staff members...
16 March 2020
How resilient and responsive is your supply chain?  If you didn’t know before, there’s a chance you will soon find out. There’s been a lot of talk about risk management with regards to Brexit, which seemed like enough of a challenge.  But now many nations around the world are facing the possibility of a COVID-19 (commonly referred to as coronavirus) epidemic, an event that, unlike Brexit, co...