Coronavirus (COVID-19): how convenience operators are responding globally

Date : 21 May 2020

Rachel Sibson

Retail Analyst

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, convenience operators are implementing measures to ensure everyone has access to the food and consumer goods products they need. We will continue to update this article as the latest initiatives are announced.

Latest from UK

  • Co-op is rapidly accelerating its online expansion to more than double the number of stores planned. Find out more here
  • Co-op announced it will be helping schools across the UK to provide free meals to eligible pupils through a gift card scheme, after asking the Government to guarantee school reimbursement. Find out more here
  • In its move to rapidly scale-up home delivery from its network of SPAR convenience stores, AF Blakemore has launched a dedicated ordering website, offering an assortment of 1,100 products. Find out more here
  • Convenience store ordering platform, Snappy Shopper has revealed that the number of local stores across the UK selling through its app has risen by a factor of five. It has seen the number of customers using the app increase by 360% and the value of sales through it jump by 520%.  In common with the wider grocery sector transaction sizes have also grown significantly, with average basket spend rising by 51% to £32.49
  • Blakemore has extended home delivery to 60% of its company stores. Find out more here
  • Co-op has invested £3m to install thousands of protective Perspex screens at till points in its 2,600 stores, along with providing more gloves and hand sanitiser for colleagues. Floor markers placed 2m apart have been introduced to act as a guide to shoppers.  A full deep clean of the retailer’s 13 logistics depots and its 2,000 vehicle cabs has also been completed
  • Co-op announced that it had filled every one of the 5,000 temporary store roles it created to cope with increased demand in a record seven days
  • Co-op launched online community platform called Co-operate, which aims to connect individuals to local and national organisations who need support, and can support, during the crisis. Co-operate will evolve as the situation changes. Visit the Co-operate website for more information
  • Midcounties Co-op has launched a delivery service for vulnerable people who are isolating at home. Customers can contact the Midcounties Membership Team or their local store by phone. Customers can then select products from a list of basic essentials including bread, milk, cheese, apples, ready meals, soup, pasta, beans, medicine, and pet food. The retailer will call back within four hours to let customers know what items are available, give a delivery window, and take payment over the phone
  • Co-op has reduced opening hours and is closing some stores. Shorter opening hours will give colleagues time to replenish stock ready. Following the government's advice to work from home, some stores are less busy. These will be closed and colleagues and stock moved to nearby branches which have higher demand

Latest from US

  • For the latest developments from 7-Eleven in the USA, see our round up article here
  • Sheetz launched its new ‘SHcan & Go!’ payment option across its stores. This allows shoppers to scan and pay for convenience products through the Sheetz app
  • On-demand restaurant delivery company, DoorDash, is evolving its business model to offer delivery from convenience stores. Its partnering with convenience store chains, including 7-Eleven, Wawa, Casey’s General Store, and Circle K
  • Loyalty marketing platform, Liquid Barcodes, launched a technology solution to support convenience retailers during the pandemic. The “pre-order and pre-pay” solution enables shoppers to order products from their smartphone or computer, choose a store location and pickup time, and pay for the order. Staff then prepare the order for the customer to collect
  • Since March 16, Kwik Trip has waived the delivery charge on any orders more than US$8 purchased through its delivery partnership with EatStreet. All food and essential items, such as eggs, bread and toilet paper, are available for delivery. However, beer, liquor and tobacco products are not available through the service. Customers can also choose to have their orders left at the door. To keep up with high demand, Kwik Trip plans to hire at least 2,000 workers to help its stores, production facilities, and distribution and transportation divisions

Latest from Australia

  • 7-Eleven Australia has developed and launched a new online delivery service in Melbourne, with plans to expand across the city and take it to new states over the coming months. The service was developed using the capabilities of last mile liquor delivery provider, Tipple, which it acquired in 2018. Orders are fulfilled from stores, mainly franchised one, with the stores taking the revenue and margin as they would normally. Delivery costs AU$7.95 and can be as short as an hour, but the majority of slots will be for the next day

Latest from Japan

  • For how Japanese operators are responding click here

Latest from Hong Kong

  • 7-Eleven is working with NPOs, issuing meal / rice coupons to support grassroots neighbourhoods and families
  • In partnership with Fung Group, Circle K has distributed 100,000 face masks to the elderly across Hong Kong

Latest from Taiwan

  • FamilyMart has partnered with food-delivery company Foodpanda to offer a delivery service from its 1000 stores by June. The service will initially be rolled out to the retailer’s 146 locations in Taipei and New Taipei. Deliveries will be made between 5:30pm and 2am the day after ordering. 200 food items will be offered including snacks, drinks, groceries, and pre-packaged meals
  • 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Hi-Life and OK mart, used their stores as pick-up points for the government’s online order mask-rationing system. The website,, was launched by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC)

Latest from Indonesia

  • FamilyMart has partnered with food delivery service GrabFood. Customers can order products from the GrabFood app for home delivery
  • FamilyMart has programmed its systems to automatically restrict purchases of more than two bottles of hand sanitiser per transaction at its stores

Latest from Thailand

  • 7-Eleven has donated 10,000 PPE sets to five hospitals treating coronavirus patients. The retailer also donated 77 million baht to 77 hospitals nationwide to support medical staff
  • Central Food Retail has launched a vending concept store called FamilyMart Corner. Beverages, snacks and convenience foods are sold from vending machines. The concept has been setup to support areas where consumers in lockdown need quick access to food and beverages close to their homes. The first FamilyMart Corners opened at Robinson Lifestyle Srisaman and Saraburi on April 10 and the next is planned for Robinson Bangrak on April 22. The FamilyMart Corners are open daily from 7am to 9pm. Entry is restricted to five customers at any one time
  • CP All’s 7-Eleven is encouraging shoppers to use its 7-Eleven Delivery app to shop for food and consumer products. The retailer plans to recruit 20,000 delivery staff to be stationed at 1,500 of its stores across the country

Latest from Malaysia

  • 7-Eleven may revise its store expansion plans. The retailer had planned to open 10 to 15 stores a month. Movement Control Order (MCO) and other uncertainties have and will cause delay in new stores being opened
  • 7-Eleven Malaysia is working with startup NGOHub to provide supplies to the elderly. The retailer has arranged and helped distribute hand sanitisers, multivitamin supplements, antibacterial household cleaning products. It has also provided guidance pamphlets on hygiene and staying healthy to charitable homes for the elderly. The supplies are being dropped off at the respective homes’ front gates
  • 7-Eleven has been operating shorter hours during the MCO, from 7am to 11pm daily

Latest from Poland

  • Zabka is limiting the number of shoppers allowed in store at any one time. The retailer’s small format stores are allowing just five shoppers at once

Latest from Mexico

  • 7-Eleven has partnered with Arcus to launch new bill payment and tracking services via 7-Eleven’s app. The initiative aims to provide a more integrated payment experience for Latin American customers, who are used to paying with cash

Looking for more on the global industry’s responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

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