Commenting on the temporary relaxation of elements of competition law to allow supermarkets to work together during the COVID-19 crisis, Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets at KPMG, said: “The need for business collaboration and consumer consideration appears to be cutting through clearly during the COVID-19 crisis. Consumer anxiety has seen those working for grocers tirelessly restocking shelves quicker than shoppers are emptying them, which is placing considerable strain on the sector.
“Previously announced measures like the extension of delivery hours will certainly help those in isolation, but the easing of competition laws clearly points to the fact that combating the fallout from COVID-19 and maintaining the status quo is the primary task at hand. With grocers working more closely together – sharing data around stock levels for example – they will be better placed to ensure that stock is appropriately distributed across the country. Of course, that still requires consumers to be more considerate in the way they shop.
“It’s at times like these we see how vital consumer businesses, like grocers, are to the very fabric of society. Their tireless efforts to feed the nation are seeing them work together where needed in order to benefit society at large. Their efforts won’t be forgotten either. After all, how businesses react to COVID-19 today will undoubtedly impact brand perceptions once the crisis has past.”