When lockdown was announced on 6th March, buyers went a step further – tinned goods like tuna and baked beans, tinned tomatoes and corned beef sold out and dry items like rice and pasta had to be rationed by supermarkets to prevent stocks from running so low that vulnerable shoppers without any surplus income could get enough to get by. In convenience stores, sales of Euroshopper baked beans shot up from a consistent average sales per week of £2 to £10 average value per store in week 12 in March. We have yet to see the effects of a second peak.
The fast change in UK shopping habits combined with an increase in home baking drove a further shortage on the shelves for flour. We cleared the shelves of flour to make dense, damp loaves of home-made sour dough and more banana bread than we could eat. Convenience stores found innovative solutions to help us get through with collaborations with local bakeries and farm stores. Sales of plain flour in mid-March 2020 were up by 829%.
Convenience stores saw a huge rise in sales over the lockdown period, with average sales reaching a peak of £10.08 on average at the end of March a huge increase from the average of £6.60 the previous year. Clearly customers found their local store to be a lifeline when the supermarkets ran out of delivery slots and introduced queues to maintain social distancing.