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Keeping coronavirus from the shop door; Daybreak Castlerea named Store of the Year

Keeping coronavirus from the shop door

IN-STORE hygiene and continuity of the supply chain have made Irish retail a crucial cog in the fight against Covid-19 Retailers are working with government agencies to ensure a continuity plan for safety measures in the workplace, and for streamlined food and drink supplies, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Amidst concerns over a growing number of Irish citizens infected with Covid-19, Dr Rita Doyle, President of the Medical Council, has called on businesses to prioritise signage that reminds employees and customers “to wash their hands and to provide hand sanitiser or sufficient hand washing facilities.”

Retailers should follow the advice from government departments, and not make decisions on their own, Tara Buckley, Director General of RGDATA, told Retail News. “If we take unilateral action, that may create problems, panic, and concerns. During the containment phase we are advising our members to follow, to the letter, what the HSE is asking,” said Buckley.

This month, retailers from across the sector met at the Department of Enterprise for a consultation, chaired by Heather Humphreys TD, acting Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation, about how to ensure continuity of supply within the food chain - and how to prepare if the outbreak escalates. “We have had similar meetings around extreme weather conditions and Brexit,” explained Buckley. “A lot of the same issues have been raised before around the food supply chain.”

According to Vincent Jennings, CEO of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA), attendees included BWG Foods, Musgrave, Green Isle Foods, Brennans Bread, Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, and Ibec. “In Ireland, at this point in time, there are plenty of products in the supply chain as is the norm,” said Jennings. “We have a well-recognised short time for product to come into the country, be warehoused for a few short days, and RGDATA Director General, Tara Buckley.

move on again.”

Concerns over streamlined food supplies follows stockpiling and panic buying in other countries affected by the virus. Arthur Dillon, Retail Ireland Director, said that while there has been “elevated demand for certain non-perishable grocery products over recent days, supply chains are wellplaced to respond. Retailers are working with their suppliers and monitoring consumer behaviour to anticipate and meet any changes.”

Demand for hand gels and wipes has increased significantly, however. “Retailers are actively working with suppliers to address any shortfalls that arise,” added Dillon.

Alongside personal hygiene products, the supply of staples - rice, pasta, tinned food - may come under pressure. “The food supply chain, for the vast majority of RGDATA members, is managed by wholesalers, so we will take their advice,” said Buckley. “The responsibility of my members covers deliveries from the truck into the shops, not the supplier into the chain.” Musgrave has contacted its suppliers to find out if there will be any “immediate, medium-term or long-term predicted effect on supply as a result of the coronavirus”, particularly as it pertains to own-brand products in SuperValu and Centra stores.

Daybreak Castlerea named Store of the Year DAYBREAK Castlerea was crowned Best Overall Store of the Year at the annual Daybreak Store of the Year Awards, which took place on March 4 in Lyrath Estate Hotel, Co. Kilkenny. The awards recognise retail excellence across 13 categories for Daybreak stores nationwide.

15 retailers were shortlisted for the overall Daybreak Store of the Year Award, which focuses on four key areas – products & services, store environment, communications, and people. During the competition, stores were assessed against rigorous criteria, including a series of mystery shopper surveys and audits on store standards. See next month’s Retail News for the full story. Pictured at the Daybreak Store of the Year Awards are (l-r): Thomas Morrison, Head of Retail, Musgrave MarketPlace; event MC Mario Rosenstock; Padraig Keegan, Daybreak Castlerea; Monica Lovetinska, Coca-Cola; Eoin Crosbie, Daybreak Castlerea; and Paul Kerrigan, Musgrave MarketPlace Director.

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