The government is relaxing competition regulations to allow retailers to work together more closely to help feed the UK during the coronavirus outbreak (The Guardian). Supermarkets will be allowed to work together to keep shelves stocked, shops open and delivery vans running as the UK battles coronavirus (Sky News).
Supermarkets will be allowed to share vans, stock and staff after the government took unprecedented action last night to “feed the nation” as panic buying intensified (The Times £). The nation’s supermarkets will now be allowed to help each other keep their shelves stocked as the government has temporarily relaxed competition laws in reaction to the coronavirus crisis (The Daily Mail). Customers who shop online with one supermarket could soon begin receiving their groceries from a rival store’s delivery service under emergency measures due to be implemented next week (The Telegraph).
Food retailers are drafting in an army of coronavirus temps to “feed the nation” as worried shoppers continue to panic-buy groceries. With millions of jobs at risk as whole sectors of the economy close down, besieged food stores, including Asda, Tesco, Co-op and Iceland, are creating thousands of temporary jobs in a bid to keep their shelves full. (The Guardian)
Supermarkets are expecting to get police support to deter unruly behaviour if London goes into lockdown because of the coronavirus. (Sky News)
The government has reassured people that there “isn’t a shortage of food” because of the coronavirus pandemic. Environment Secretary George Eustice told MPs in the Commons that there is “significant resilience in our food supply chain” amid public concern over COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. (Sky News)
The surge in demand for food and products — which could not be foreseen by algorithms used to set stock levels — has prompted supermarket chains to ration items and manufacturers and distributors to find ways to increase supply. Factories are moving to longer operating times and food producers cutting ranges to focus on volume (Financial Times £).
Corner shops and small retailers could soon face the same bare shelves as larger supermarkets after wholesalers faced an influx of customers. (The Telegraph)
The Bank of England has been warned that its vast rescue package of loans aimed at keeping businesses alive through the coronavirus crisis will not help the majority of retail businesses in the UK. (The Financial Times £)
Billionaire retailers Sir Philip Green and Mike Ashley have asked landlords for rent cuts of up to 50% as they try to cut costs during the coronavirus outbreak. (The Guardian)
Panic-buying shoppers have overloaded Ocado’s systems with 100 times the normal level of orders. The online supermarket admitted it was impossible to scale up capacity to deal with the “unprecedented” level of demand (The Times £). Ocado is expected to extend product rationing and prevent customers booking multiple delivery slots when it reopens for orders on Saturday, as it seeks to meet demand while the UK steps up social distancing measures to counter the coronavirus (The Financial Times £).
Ocado insisted it has no product shortages as it prepares to relaunch its beefed-up website with new rationing rules (The Telegraph). Ocado is expected to increase rationing on its site when it reopens on Saturday as it tries to cope with overwhelming demand for grocery home deliveries (The Guardian). The surge in desperate shoppers trying to arrange deliveries from Ocado was so high at one point the company feared it was under attack from hackers (The Daily Mail).
You can’t bet against Ocado, in the same way it used to be foolish to bet against Goldman Sachs, writes The FT. “[But] by temporarily pulling down the shutters on its web shop, Ocado risks alienating new customers for far longer than just the four days when its site is closed.” (The Financial Times £)
A growing number of retail giants closed their doors on Thursday and restaurants heeded calls for social distancing amid Europe’s coronavirus pandemic, in the largest mass closure yet. (The Daily Mail)
Pub and hotel operator Marston’s has announced it is predicting a major drop in sales this year as it struggles to deal with the loss of business resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. (The Daily Mail)
Tens of thousands of hospitality workers are out of work – at least temporarily – as more and more operators pull down the shutters in response to dwindling takings (The Times £).
Us Brits aren’t just emptying the shelves of loo roll and pasta, we’re also making sure that our four-legged friends don’t have to go without during the corona lockdown. One of the chief beneficiaries of our desire to keep our dogs and cats well looked after is Pets at Home. (The Times £)
Motorists could see petrol fall to £1 a litre within weeks, according to the AA. The motoring group said it expected fuel to fall to the lowest level in four years following the oil price rout triggered by the Covid19 pandemic. (The Daily Mail)