Saturdays have always been the busiest days for supermarkets in Cyprus but coronavirus has changed this tradition making all days of the week more or less the same, Phileleftheros reports.
Comparing last Saturday with the corresponding day of the week before the epidemic struck, one could record decreased sales at supermarkets by up to 30%, an insider said.
“Consumers seem to have lost track of days, but most probably spending capacity too following a huge increase in consumption recorded the very first days of the coronavirus outbreak,” the same insider also said.
At the same time, retailers are coming to terms with the inevitable fact that one of their best turnover times, that is Orthodox Easter, will be lost. Easter and Christmas time in Cyprus were traditionally the strongest in consumption.
However, the state of play this year is different and no one seems to expect anything similar to years of the past. Nonetheless, traffic and sales in supermarkets are still above normal levels.
Not by 100% or by 150% but, nonetheless, the basket is fuller by about 15% to 20% with every new visit to the supermarket. This is an increase sparked by panic along with a higher consumption of personal hygiene products.
Relatively smooth implementation
With the exception of a few cases the recent measure allowing only a certain age group and vulnerable individuals to go in a supermarket before 10 in the morning has been smoothly implemented.
However, the announcement was made without prior consultation with the sector’s businesses which did find themselves unprepared, according to an insider.
First line employees
Employees at supermarkets and other retail outlets are at the forefront, communicating and interacting with hundreds, if not thousands, of people every day. And all this at a time when isolation and no interaction is required.
Undoubtedly, the psychological tension for these employees must be high despite special protective measures at retail outlets that are taken.
All in all, the situation in supermarkets these days is compared to a roller coaster since – whenever there is a new decree or even rumours going around, no matter if valid or not – the traffic data changes significantly.
The good news, so far, is that product shortages are not recorded and the supply chain operates smoothly.
By Antonis Antoniou