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COVID-19 retail impacts: 27 March 2020

27 Mar 2020 / By: Kantar Research Team

Welcome to today’s briefing on the effects of Coronavirus on the retail landscape in Europe and EMEA. This will be the last daily update for the time being as going forward our team will focus instead on identifying specific trends and responding to developments in key markets as and when they manifest.


Italy: The country remains in the grip of Coronavirus with consumer confidence for March at 101.0, the lowest since January 2015, per ISTAT data. Retailers are adjusting strategies to manage the impact on supply and maintain an appropriate balance between controlling consumer prices and sustaining supplier businesses. Ensuring essentials is a paramount concern, with leading players matching moves to cap in-store prices, with leading cooperative Coop Italia freezing all packaged goods prices until 31 May. Elsewhere, the crisis has seen many local producers launch direct-to-consumer (D2C) models to keep shoppers stocked in key categories.

Germany: The fallout of the pandemic on non-food is demonstrated by national institution Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof forced to seek state aid to ensure its survival. Elsewhere, social media is growing in importance as the place for retailers to communicate with shoppers. Lidl has launched the #lidlmitbringer campaign promoting neighbourly behaviour, following initiatives from Aldi in Germany and Austria. Under the hashtag #füreinander (For Each Other), rival drugstore players Rossmann, Müller and dm drogerie markt have joined forces on a positive messaging campaign.  

Kantar Retail IQ has published a detailed overview of the Coronavirus impact on European drug and pharmacy. Available to download for subscribers here: COVID-19 impact in the European pharmacy & drug channel

UK: With new store procedures firmly in place, attention switched overnight to the ethics around online warehouse operation, with fast-fashion retailers increasingly in the cross-hairs of criticism on social media and from unions. Next has bowed to public pressure and closed down its ecommerce arm, while the likes of Asos, Boohoo and Zalando remain defiant and trading for now. In a move to manage online demand, Tesco has imposed order limits at its grocery ecommerce offer.

Continuing our COVID-19 webinar series, join the Kantar UK team on Tuesday 31 March at 1400 BST to hear about the impact the Coronavirus pandemic is having on retailers, manufacturers and people’s shopper behaviour. Join us as we discuss a number of key challenges facing the retail sector. Click here to register for this event.

France: With shoppers increasingly favouring the Drive format, new studies show essential category shortfalls are becoming less problematic as supply chains adapt to demand. Key products like hygiene are still seeing out-of-stocks, but overall these rates are now stablising

Please note: We have expanded our upcoming International Key Account Strategy Workshop virtual event on 2 April at 0930 BST to shine a light on how Coronavirus will impact the future of retail across Europe’s biggest retailers. To book a place for your team, register here.

Rest of Europe

With Hungary now under a state of emergency, SPAR Hungary has moved to prevent bulk buying. Carrefour Poland has locked down own-brand prices.

Rest of World:

Coronavirus impact in Japan will see retail sales fall for a fifth consecutive month, with a 1.2% YoY drop expected for February, following a 0.4% slip in January. Woolworths in Australia is looking to bolster its workforce by 20,000 to keep up with demand. An innovative ‘personal shopper’ solution is Aeon’s response to shopper needs under new regulations in Malaysia. The 21-day lockdown in India has prompted leading supermarket chain Big Bazaar to step into the home-delivered ecommerce space.

The threat of COVID-19 is driving growth of ecommerce in the Middle East. Find out why this growth is set to last. Subscribers can read more here: COVID-19 to reset ecommerce landscape in the Middle East

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 Click here to visit the page.

Kantar Research Team

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