Welcome to today’s briefing on the effects of Coronavirus on the retail landscape in Europe and EMEA. While in no way definitive, we hope to ensure our clients are kept as informed as possible on new initiatives, developments and trends emerging as this crisis unfolds.
The European Commission has unveiled new guidelines for border management to keep freight moving across the EU during the pandemic. It calls for ‘Green Lane’ crossings with minimal checks and delays of no more than 15 minutes. States are also requested to suspend any local transport restrictions to ensure smooth movement of goods. Meanwhile, the European Competition Network has eased anti-cartel mechanisms to allow for closer cooperation between suppliers to maintain essential supplies across the continent.
France: The government has announced a tranche of new measures and regulations to address the current crisis. Among these are temporary maximum weekly working time extensions to 60 hours, including Sundays, in sectors like agrifood and logistics. There is also a EUR4 billion fund to protect SMEs and startups. The government has also teamed with marketplace solutions provider Miraki to launch the StopCOVID19.fr. marketplace as a centralised online hub to coordinate distribution of medical and health essentials.
UK: Britain’s supermarkets are rapidly implementing new procedures to maintain social distancing, with Tesco the latest to introduce new measures. Sainsbury’s has moved to fund increased supplier volumes and safeguard smaller suppliers, while proximity chain SPAR has seen store shipments surge 200% as increasing numbers of UK shoppers turn to their local shops for household needs. Online, Deliveroo is to offer curated ‘essentials’ kits to those in isolation while Amazon is poised to work with the UK government to distribute millions of COVID-19 testing kits once these have been officially approved.
Spain: Online fulfilment continues to feel the strain as demand continues to mount with the nation under prolonged lockdown. Elsewhere, more companies are filing ERTE submissions to protect laid-off staff, with the fashion sector particularly impacted. This is especially hard to take, given the growth that existed in the sector pre-crisis, as Kantar Worldpanel (Spanish) data reveals.
Germany: The Bundestag has approved a rescue package valued at EUR750 billion, or almost 22% of GDP. Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner is urging for greater protections for agricultural producers and manufacturers, especially with regard to ingredient supplies from eastern Europe. Retailers Douglas and MediaMarktSaturn have both applied for salary assurance to cover non-working staff. In an interview, Lidl Germany CEO Matthias Oppitz has called for a unified approach to in-store hygiene across all retailers.
Rest of Europe
Coronavirus continues to drive change in Poland, with Kaufland, Biedronka and Aldi adapting their store operations in response. Meanwhile, Lidl is set to introduce its Lidl Pay digital payment system as demand rises for contactless transactions. In Russia, the spread of the virus is driving consumer engagement with ecommerce progression and also shaping the strategy of the country’s leading retailer.
Read more: COVID-19 and its impact on Russia’s #1 retailer
Rest of World:
Leading grocers in Thailand are rushing to ramp up online delivery services as fewer shoppers venture out. Lockdown rules in India have taken most of the chief ecommerce players temporarily offline amid ongoing regulatory confusion. In Australia, the top two supermarket chains are both revamping their ecommerce operations to better adapt to consumer needs.
Hear More: Podcast: What is the impact of COVID-19 on grocery and retail?
You can gain further insight and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on brands and retail by visiting the dedicated Coronavirus content page at kantar.com. Click here to visit the page.