By Stephen McConnell, Business Services Partner

2020 has certainly been a challenging year for businesses not only here in Northern Ireland, but globally. Locally, city centre locations are of course struggling.   Office workers are working from home and so vital footfall has drastically decreased. Stores in residential areas however are seeing their sales spike, with the most successful stores found in the middle of chimney pots. It’s this irregularity that means whatever type of store owner you are, there’s never been a more important time to ensure that you are working with trusted advisers. With more and more businesses choosing to outsource their financial requirements, such as accounting and payroll, the benefits of doing so are now clearer than ever. Retailers are offered the opportunity to save time, increase their profitability and reduce risk – and crucially, allow them time to focus on their business strategy with access to information in real time.

Looking beyond Covid-19, whenever that might be, and into 2021, we know already that Brexit will have a major impact on the variety of foods that will come in to Northern Ireland – and that could have an impact on sales. Major supermarkets have already said that new regulations will see a reduction in the amount of different types of products that will be available on shelves. Where once we might have had the choice of seven different brands of pasta, now we’ll have three or four.

We anticipate a similar picture in 2021 for convenience retailers as we predict that until a vaccine is rolled out across the country, customers will continue to shop locally in their own communities.

This article was first published in the Ulster Grocer, January 2021. To discuss any of the issues raised please contact Stephen McConnell, Business Services Partner Email or Tel: 028 9032 3466.