Owner Jonathan James closed 12 of his 54-strong store estate due to a dramatic reduction in footfall
He expects it to take between seven and 10 days to get the stores up and running again
James Convenience Retail owner Jonathan James has said he is preparing for the “major project” of re-opening 12 stores that have been closed during the coronavirus crisis.
James told The Grocer he had closed 12 of the 54-strong store estate due to a dramatic reduction in footfall, as they are located in town centres and within bus stations and shopping malls.
With the government set to provide details this weekend on the easing of lockdown restrictions, James said he expected it to take between seven and 10 days to get the stores up and running again.
The biggest challenge would be restocking the shops as he had diverted supply to his other stores, he added.
“This will be a major project,” said James. “The time would allow for the fridges to be turned back on to get the temperatures checked and we need to get our staff back from furlough.”
James has imported 500 face masks and visors for his staff, who will be offered the PPE but will not be required to wear it, and has the supply chain in place to replenish these stocks. Employees already have access to gloves and antibacterial hand gel.
He also flagged up the need for extra training for staff including around the difficulties of upholding a Challenge 25 policy for age-restricted sales when many customers will be wearing masks.
ACS CEO James Lowman agreed age checks could be an issue. “If in doubt, which they are if they have asked for proof of age, a retailer should not sell these products unless they are satisfied the customer is old enough to buy them,” he said.
He added: “While most convenience stores have stayed open, many have closed some elements of their business such as hot food counters and concessions. Re-opening these takes planning and often requires work with third parties.”