NATIONAL REPORT — Three-quarters of U.S. convenience store retailers report that the nation’s social distancing and other emergency measures enacted to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have had a negative impact on their sales, according to a recent online poll conducted by Convenience Store News.
Of the more than 150 c-store retailers who took part in the poll, only 8 percent said their sales levels haven’t changed significantly since the outbreak. The other 16 percent report an uptick in sales, likely due to panic buying by consumers.
Among other findings: two-thirds of convenience store retailers say they are having trouble staying in stock with in-demand products like household cleaners and paper products. Another 10 percent say they cannot keep their store shelves stocked due to intense customer demand. However, 21 percent countered that they haven’t had an issue with product fulfillment during this crisis.
In terms of store operations, more than half of the respondents (58 percent) said they haven’t made any changes to their store hours during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, about a quarter (26 percent) have scheduled extra time for store resets and cleaning given the current circumstances.
The biggest workforce management challenge, according to c-store retailers, is preventing the spread of the virus among their workforce, cited by 45 percent of respondents.
Other workforce issues cited include finding extra staff to support increased demand in certain areas of the enterprise, such as transportation workers and store workers calling in sick. Fifteen percent say they are offering payment, financial support and other services to employees who are temporarily displaced from their jobs.
CSNews continues to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the convenience store industry. Click here to see our continuous updates, and also check out our exclusive webcasts on how major c-store chains are coping with the everyday challenges of COVID-19, and handling real-time crisis-management communications with frontline employees.