Some may think that the retail industry has had it easy over the last few months as the majority of the sector have been able to continue trading during the pandemic.
However, squeezed margins and a dramatic drop in fuel revenue has hit independents the hardest. As the entirety of Irish retail reopens, the challenge now is to bring footfall and revenue back to the sector.
“I don’t think there is anybody who is still closed who is intent on continuing in business,” says CSNA CEO, Vincent Jennings. “Every day you stayed closed your previous customers are establishing new patterns and new relationships with other outlets. You don’t want to be left behind.”
Certainly, members of the Convenience Stores & Newsagents Association (CSNA), have not lagging behind in regards to updates on quick changing government policy. During the three-month lockdown, Vincent and his team worked hard to make available detailed and bespoke COVID-19 information for its members, both on its website and through newsletters.
“We tried to prevent information overload,” he says. “But at the same time, there is really important information that people need to receive such as the Restart Grant and Return to Work Safely Protocol.”
Retailers who have not shut their doors during the crisis may think they are exempt from any return to work legislation but the CSNA is keen to clear up any confusion.
“It absolutely does apply to every business and you need to have a clear plan to show the Health & Safety authority what your organisation has been doing to make it safe for the public and staff. As part of our information on this we have been showing people exactly how to carry out proper assessments for return to work,” says Vincent.
To read more of our interview with Vincent Jennings, view our first ever digital-only issue for free here.