Retailers closing: beware the second wave?

  20 September 2020

It has come earlier than expected. Auto Retail Agenda has been told of several retailers closing due to COVID-19 outbreaks, with several major retail groups amongst the affected.

If one staff member tests positive for COVID, the entire showroom staff often has to go into quarantine, resulting in two weeks’ closure. In other instances, it’s simply lack of non-quarantined staff that leads to trading challenges

As the number of positive COVID cases rises, so too may retailer closures.

At the moment, Auto Retail Agenda has been told, it’s mainly sales operations that have been affected, as opposed to service departments. Retailer initiatives to keep the two relatively separated appear to be bearing fruit here.

But it’s still a concern. Dare we say, we’ve been here before: remember back in early March? What resulted was something none of us wants to repeat.

With further restrictions coming into force from Tuesday, and talk of a ‘short-circuit’ two-week clampdown, the risk is there.

But, unlike March, we are now better prepared to weather the storm.

The first lockdown proved many things to us. We can operate remotely. Salespeople can sell cars online. Retailers can serve customers even if nobody is in the showrooms. Those hard-learnt lessons have made us work more efficiently, and will stand us in good stead for what may now be in store.

We don’t want another lockdown or COVID clampdown. But, six months on, we at least know we’re better placed to keep on operating more effectively than we ever could have imagined back in March.

Yet another illustration of how the auto retail industry so effectively evolves.

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