ANKENY, Iowa — In early April, Casey’s General Stores Inc. withdrew its financial guidance for fiscal 2020 citing a decline in store traffic and consumer demand across its business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as another month goes by and the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the nation, Casey’s CEO Darren Rebelez foresees three major changes that he believes will last beyond the end of the pandemic.
The first major change relates to the way in which Americans will do their jobs.
“Working virtually is a trend that’s been evolving for a while, but the pandemic ripped the Band-Aid off. Companies have realized they can be productive in a virtual environment. Does that mean that 10 percent of the workforce will continue to work at home? 5 percent? 15 percent? I don’t know, but not everyone is going back to work at the office,” Rebelez told Convenience Store News.
The second major change is the continued and accelerated growth of e-commerce. Brick-and-mortar stores are going to be under even more pressure as consumers order more online, he predicts.
“For us, we were already moving in that direction with our new e-commerce platform. Soon, we will be offering our entire product line, not just food, through online ordering, delivery and curbside pickup,” Rebelez reported.
The third major change he foresees is a heightened focus on safety, hygiene and cleanliness.
“Our guest expectations in these areas are higher now, and every retailer will have to adopt to those new expectations,” the chief executive noted.
Rebelez was recently selected as the 2020 CSNews Retailer Executive of the Year. The annual award recognizes a retailer executive who exemplifies leadership, business acumen, dedication to the convenience industry, and commitment to community service. He will be honored at a Nov. 4 banquet alongside the 2020 inductees into the CSNews Hall of Fame.