Non-essential retail is due to open up from the 12th of April, as coronavirus restrictions ease across the country. However, rather than stocking up early in preparation for the end of lockdown – it seems many retail brands are nervous over the proposed roadmap dates.
Regardless of the fact that high street stores may open in less than two weeks’ time, data from Speedy Freight – who partner with several national retailers saw 71% decrease in retail deliveries in March 2021 compared to pre-lockdown – showing brands are sceptical and un-willing to over-commit too soon.
According to Speedy Freight Operational Director John Munnelly, this cautious approach is in line with trends from the last lockdown. Between May/June 2020, the demand for retail support contracts increased by 1,038% in just a few weeks.
Mr Munnelly said: “Given the amount of disruption we’ve had over the last year, most brands simply won’t commit to restocking and preparing to open their doors until they’re 100% certain it won’t be a wasted effort. Last June, we saw the biggest spike in retail support jobs after the shops had actually opened, not before, because clients simply did not have faith that the proposed lockdown dates were reliable. Only time will tell if the UK government are able to keep to the dates laid out in their roadmap but one thing is for certain, when the shops do open it will generate a spike in demand for transport and we have contingency plans in place to ensure we can support retailers getting back on their feet”
As is to be expected, demand for support in the food service industry has been minimal in recent months, with Speedy Freight experiencing a -97% decline in demand for support over lockdown. However, unlike the retail industry it seems hospitality brands are gearing up early for the end of restrictions.
In just the last two weeks alone, Speedy Freight has experienced a 13% surge in food/beverage related contracts as both national chains and independent hospitality clients prepare for the next stage in the government roadmap, perhaps buoyed by pre-bookings and consumer confidence.