Following an announcement from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday January 7 in which she suggested that click and collect services may be withdrawn under proposed tighter coronavirus restrictions in Scotland, the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has written a joint letter to Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Government’s Economy Secretary, expressing concern that to do so would cause further damage to Scottish retailers.
Backed by retailers from across Scotland the letter points out that, “The ability to operate click and collect is a financial lifeline for struggling retailers, and so it is disappointing to hear through the media it being cited as an example of further commercial activity that could be forcibly shut”.
The SRC says it fully recognises the need to act quickly to protect public health but maintains that they have received no data to indicate why click and collect should be withdrawn from retailers who have invested heavily in measures to comply with COVID-19 restrictions and followed Government guidance to mitigate risk to customers and staff.
The letter goes on to say that, “Click/telephone and collect services explicitly allow local and often smaller retailers to maintain some level of trade. For some, their click and collect service doesn’t actually involve any physical customer/staff interaction, and for others home delivery is often impractical. The consequences of ending this last opportunity for trade could be serious for many retailers”.
“We recognise government has to act quickly in the current environment, however we’d ask that engagement prior to public announcements adapts too.”
The letter has been signed by David Lonsdale, director of the SRC (pictured), Meryl Halls, managing director of the Booksellers Association of the UK & Ireland, James Barnes, chairman of the Horticultural Trades Association, Howard Saycell, chief executive of Retra Ltd and Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of BIRA.