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

Laura Jacobson
Head of Insight - RA UK

Date : 20 April 2020

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

Multiples update

  • Morrisons offers 10% discount to NHS staff: From Thursday, NHS staff will be entitled to a 10% discount when shopping at the retailer's stores. The scheme will last until July 12th when it will be reviewed. This latest initiative follows on from Morrisons introduction of an NHS shopping hour in stores at the beginning of every day and a click and collect food box service at 22 hospitals
  • Asda launches free prescription delivery service: All 255 Asda pharmacies have begun offering a free prescription delivery service for customers unable to reach its stores
  • Sainsbury's will use Comic Relief fundraising to support those impacted by COVID-19. The retailer has pledged to match donations made to Comic Relief by its customers. They will be able to donate by rounding up their bill at manned checkouts or by adding a donation at self service checkouts and on online payments until May 1st. As part of the appeal, BBC One will broadcast 'The Big Night In' on April 23rd that will split monies raised between Comic Relief and BBC Children in Need. Sainsbury's long term partnership with Comic Relief has raised over £130m to date
  • Waitrose has introduced new measures to support small and vulnerable suppliers, internationally and in the UK. Read more here
  • Tesco unveiled a new phase of its Food Love Stories marketing campaign, crowdsourcing content from its customers via social media using the #FoodLoveStories hashtag. Its designed to encourage customers to dedicate their own cooking and recipes to loved ones. The retailer has conducted customer research to understand how coronavirus is impacting the nation's cooking habits

Online update

  • Waitrose is extending its Rapid Delivery service three-fold to help cater for increased demand for online groceries during COVID-19. This will enable 7,000 households per week to book and receive up to 25 items with same day delivery (as fast as within two hours). At least 40% will be reserved for elderly and vulnerable customers. Click and collect is being rolled out to an additional 70 stores by the end of May. This will add a further 10,000 slots per week.
  • Aldi is introducing a new online grocery service in the form of a box of essential groceries, in a similar move to Morrisons and M&S. Read more here
  • Tesco rethinks online plans: Tesco has put plans to boost online capacity through a network of 25 urban fulfilment centres at its larger stores on hold according to reports in The Grocer. The first centre was due to have opened in West Bromwich last month. Instead Tesco will now concentrate resources on tackling Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Morrisons widens choice of food boxes: In addition to its original two meal boxes, Morrisons has now launched three new variants. A 'Market Kitchen Square Meals Box' includes eight complete main meals with four different dishes, while a 'Meal Maker' box includes eight main dishes to which customers can add their own rice, pasta or potatoes. For bigger households Morrisons has launched a £45 Family Meat Box containing a selection of meats and two sauces
  • Booths expands click and collect to all stores: After launching the service in three stores last week, Booths has now extended click and collect to its entire estate. See original story here

Convenience update

  • Co-op has become the latest retailer to stock The Big Issue to support the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic after the magazine decided to stop street sales over safety concerns. The retailer will match the 50% of the cover price that usually goes to vendors selling the magazine on the street. Whilst Sainsbury’s and McColl’s are also stocking the magazine, the listing in Co-op’s 2,600 stores is the magazine’s largest distribution agreement yet
  • Co-op boss Steve Murrells has taken a 20% pay cut over the next three months and will donate the money to a new Co-op Members’ Coronavirus Fund. Co-op members can also contribute to the fund by donating unspent rewards from their membership scheme (Co-op members receive 5% back every time they purchase the Co-op’s own-brand products or services). The funds will go towards food banks, frontline community causes and a funeral hardship fund.

Food-to-go update

  • Pret re-opens stores near London hospitals. The shops will be open 8am-2pm and will sell a range of essential groceries alongside food-to-go. NHS staff will get a 50% discount until the end of April. Pret announced it was closing all stores on 21 March due to restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
  • Dark kitchens used by restaurant supplier for D2C produce deliveries. Collectiv Food, which works with farmers and fishermen to supply their products to restaurants, has launched a new concept with Deliveroo to sell direct to consumers. Deliveroo’s delivery-only dark kitchens will be used as central packing hubs for meat, poultry, fish and plant-based products which can be delivered to customers across London in an hour.
  • KFC has reopened 11 of its UK restaurants for delivery only. More may follow in the coming weeks as long as it can do so ‘responsibly’. Customers in areas of London, the north west and Scotland can place delivery orders via Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats. The restaurants will be operated by a skeleton staff and offering a limited menu to simplify operations. Measures such as 2m zones marked by tape in kitchens and delivery collection areas and one member of staff to a station have been introduced to aid social distancing. Staff will return to work on an opt-in basis with only those who can travel to work without using public transport asked to work. A spokesperson said: "Over the last week, we’ve reopened 11 of our restaurants in the UK. They’re open for delivery only and are serving a limited menu, operated by fewer team members with new procedures in place to help ensure we’re following social distancing guidelines. There’s still a need for affordable, accessible food at this time - so we want to do our part. We’ve also donated thousands of meals from all our open restaurants to those on the frontline, including the NHS and key workers, in partnership with Deliveroo, and will continue to do so each week whilst the situation continues."

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