How Will Retailers & F&B Survive August?
This week the government launched ‘Shop Local Week’, as part of the Enjoy Summer Safely umbrella campaign. Shop Local Week encourage people to pop out to their favourite greengrocer, bakery or florist instead of buying online, for business to demonstrate how they are safely welcoming customers back.
Normally August would be one of the busiest months of the year for businesses that rely on tourism trade. August is the month where most people go on holiday, spend time outside with their friends and family, and businesses reap the rewards of increased trade, especially in the hospitality sector. This however isn’t a normal August, businesses are trying to survive with less footfall and lower trade figures than previous years.
Something that would help to bring in large crowds are large scale customer events, but these have all been cancelled. This has forced us to focus on different ways of attracting customers, and not see footfall as a measure of success or ROI. At The Riverwalk scheme in Durham we have arranged for live music sessions and walkabout entertainers in August, as a social distanced way of having entertainment and adding to the holiday vibe for those on stay-cations who are eating and drinking outside.
The Eat Out to Help out scheme is proving to be popular for restaurants, with many taking advantage of the 50% discount on dining in between Monday to Wednesday. But in September when this scheme ends, what else can we do to encourage visitors to local, family run businesses that rely on regular trade to survive? Especially for areas that don’t have huge residential communities, in particular ‘The City of London’. Predictions say the City won’t be at its normally working capacity for months, maybe even a year, and the amount of trade that city workers bring to the industry with coffees, lunch meetings, gift shopping, client drinks etc is seeing a huge hit to sales.
With fears of a second wave growing and lockdown rumours rising, it’s hard to predict how consumer behaviour will influence the retail industry in the coming months. What we can do is proactively engage with retailers to support their businesses and animate voids, helping bring back the spark to retail destinations.