What retail businesses are doing

Rupkatha Bhowmick

As retail businesses around the world are dealing with the impact of the COVID-19, a common sense of resilience and kindness pervade. Several retail groups, world-over, are undertaking required safety measures, while still meeting customer demands.

“Our priority is to continue putting products on our shelves regularly without disrupting supply. People will have to eat, irrespective of the situation,” stressed V. Nandakumar, chief communications officer, Lulu Group International. “Hence, dealing in the food business, it is critical that we ensure sustained product availability at competitive prices, even if we have to take a hit. In fact, recently we brought in 16.5 tons of fruits and vegetables to Kuwait in a charter flight from India to ensure stock availability.”

He also confirmed that online traffic on Lulu Hypermarket has been unprecedentedly high, clocking over 200-300% growth in orders on a week-on-week basis. “And we are doing our best to ensure timely delivery by beefing up our logistics and fulfilment centres, while ensuring utmost hygiene. Be it our stores or offices, we have undertaken every possible measure – including installing thermal scanners – to ensure highest level of personal hygiene. In addition, we have also tied up with major hospitals around the country, should our people require any medical attention,” he added.

Meanwhile, here’s a look at what retailers are doing globally:

H&M: H&M Foundation has donated $500,000 to COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, created to support countries around the world to “prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.” In a statement, Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation said, “The growing COVID-19 pandemic affects us all and the World Health Organization is doing an extremely important job of leading and managing this global effort. We hope that more organisations and individuals want to join and help, as donations to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund are essential to meet funding needs in this fast-moving situation.”

Nordstrom: From March 17, 2020 onwards, Nordstrom has decided to close its stores in the US and Canada for two weeks to contain the spread of COVID-19. However, consumers can shop on Nordstrom online and through mobile apps. Importantly, during this time Nordstrom will provide its employees with pay, benefits and additional resources, as required. “There is no question this is a time of great uncertainty…we feel confident that by sticking together and supporting each other, we’ll emerge from this stronger than before,” said CEO Erik & president and chief brand officer Pete Nordstrom.

Portland Garment Factory: At the time of the current on-going crisis, soft goods and garment manufacturer Portland Garment Factory has committed to stay in business while helping the community. Foreseeing the possibility of shortage, Portland Garment Factory has set up safety procedures within its premises to produce 1,000 medical masks and gowns per week for medical professionals. These will be manufactured using biodegradable materials.


Meanwhile, if you are a retail business, tell us about your people, community and organisation-oriented efforts in response to the current situation. Write to [email protected]