'Pandemic changed the way people shop'

THIS year has seen changes in how people shop.

Mark Cox, the chief executive of the Co-op outside its Grand Marche store in St Martin’s. It was its smaller shops which were busier at the height of the pandemic. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29061608)
Mark Cox, the chief executive of the Co-op outside its Grand Marche store in St Martin’s. It was its smaller shops which were busier at the height of the pandemic. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29061608)

‘Generally shopping less often but spending more each trip. Certainly in the early days of the pandemic, people were staying very local,’ said CI Co-op CEO Mark Cox.

Larger stores were less busy unless their community counterparts were trading heavily.

But managing that with physical distancing, which is again in place in Jersey due to a massive rise in active virus cases, was very difficult.

It affected the level of trade that could be put through stores, according to Mr Cox, with staff doing an incredible job of serving their local community.

An online delivery service has also been launched this year and is expected to grow in both islands going forward.

It was established after the number of vulnerable people in Jersey and Guernsey unable to go to the shop emerged in the early days of the pandemic.

‘We recognise it’s not perfect at the moment. We’ve still got some enhancements to do. But what we wanted to do was make sure that it was ready for the winter months and any potential rise in Covid, and we’ve been able to deliver that,’ he said.

‘That’s fantastic and that’s something we’ll now continue to develop and enhance over the coming months and years, and will become an important part of the channels in which we operate in.’

Another change has been the society is looking for someone to take on its travel business after deciding to focus on its core food business as well as pharmacy and funeral divisions.

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