Greg Suszczenia, joint managing director of Parfetts, has urged suppliers to acknowledge the key role played by smaller retailers during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our customers are in the heart of communities. The overwhelming majority know many of their customers by name, and I continually hear heartwarming stories. This distribution channel must be supported because it massively over-indexes in the demographics of those that are affected, particularly the elderly. Lockdown will be particularly tough for these people.
“The most important thing for me right now is that our suppliers meet the change in demand and do not prioritise bigger customers; for me, it’s the reverse.”
Parfetts has moved its operations to a 24/7 footing and has maintained its standard depot opening hours to support retailers in these testing times.
The company is recruiting additional people to enable it to cope with demand as well as absence through sickness and self-isolation. Field-based and head office staff have been deployed in depots to help restock shelves and pick for online orders.
Parfetts has increased deep cleaning in depots for the safeguarding of its customers and staff and is rigorously following government guidelines. Professional security teams have been employed to support staff across the estate.
Suszczenia commented: “To date, I couldn’t be prouder of our colleagues and how the whole company has reacted in these unprecedented times.”
Parfetts has recognised the extraordinary effort of its colleagues by bringing forward the July staff bonus payment to 9 April and paid it out at its maximum level. As its employees are key workers, Parfetts is also supporting parents with information and assistance.
In the week ending 21 March, sales (excluding cigarettes) were up by exactly 100% on the same period in 2019.