As retailers suffer a record 18.1% fall in sales, huge amounts of stock are going to waste as it languishes in supply chains.
Following the release of the ONS Retail Sales figures for April, Matthew Woodcock, Director at LLamasoft made the following comment:
“As UK highstreets remain deserted, retailers continue to suffer from declining sales. The fall will impact not just profitability, but their sustainability, as huge amounts of waste is created. Not only will perishable items pass their ‘use by date’, but as inventory levels of non-perishables rise and languish in the supply chain the chances of that stock becoming damaged, lost or obsolescent increases. This is fuelled further as retailers have furloughed or re-focused teams that would usually look to manage these mid-term activities.
Retailers are having to react rapidly to changing consumer demands, one-week toilet paper is filling customers baskets and the next it is flour. Supply chains vary significantly on how they can react to huge swings. Some such as fast fashion is already geared to respond rapidly. They may not do it optimally or perfectly, but they can at least minimise the damage. Where-as stable repeating low volatility supply chains where the focus has been on absolute efficiency will struggle more.
Customer buying behaviours have not only changed regarding what products we buy but also how we buy them. Consequently those retailers with limited e-commerce options have been hit doubly hard. These changes could have lasting implications as ‘bricks and mortar’ trade may not return to the same levels after the pandemic.”