Seven in ten (70%) Greek retail executives believe that COVID-19 will continue to affect the marketplace until at least the summer of 2022, while 85% believe that it will persist until the end of 2021.
The findings were revealed in a study by IELKA, the Greek Consumer Goods Retail Research Institute, and included responses from 180 senior business executives operating in the grocery retail sector.
The study also found that retail executives believe that there is a growing level of fatigue among both customers and staff over continued coronavirus containment measures – 85% of respondents said that they felt consumers were tired of the prolonged measures, while 51% answered likewise for personnel.
At the same time, however, the survey showed that four fifths (78%) believe that these measures are necessary in terms of dealing effectively with the pandemic. In addition, a large majority also felt that the quickest way out of the pandemic was to ensure the vaccination of the majority of the population.
The duration and intensity of the pandemic has also impacted retailer's financial positioning, the study found, with most reporting a 'significant increase' in operating costs as a result of the pandemic.
Just 12% of respondents said that they have experience no increase in operating costs as a result of the pandemic, while two thirds (65%) answered that operating costs have increased by between 1% and 5%. In addition, some 23% said that operating costs have increased by more than 5% as a result of COVID-19.
According to IELKA, the total additional costs for modern food retailers in 2020 stood at €160 million, of which €130 million was allocated to labour – through recruitment of additional personnel, longer opening hours, extra security and cleaning staff, and the utilisation of new sales channels.
The introduction or ramping up of home delivery services is estimated to have cost an additional €14 million last year, while in-store screens and PPE equipment cost around €12 million. Finally, the development and expansion of online operations is estimated to have cost the sector around €8 million last year, according to IELKA.
'The above costs will continue to apply in 2021 as long as there is an emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and until the market returns to it previous state,' IELKA said. [Pic: ©Theastock/123RF.COM]
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.