Back in January, when I was interviewed by this magazine (‘Hobby reveals trade secrets of Dunmoore’), I said I viewed trade counters “as part of the last- mile logistics business” and that I believed “they will play a big role in the future supply chain”.
Of course, I wish my prediction had not been borne out quite as quickly as it ultimately was. What Covid has done is accelerate trends, such as people wanting to work more flexibly, the decline of the high street and trade counters’ important role in the supply chain.
While the Covid lockdown just two months after the interview forced the closure of bricks-and-mortar shops, trade businesses – such as Screwfix and Toolstation – were deemed to be ‘essential businesses’ and permitted to keep their physical branches open.
Like Amazon, they thrived during the lockdown months, as they too are efficient, convenient multichannel businesses, with the majority of national trade brands now having extensive networks across the country – enabling customers to order online and receive their products through click-and-collect or delivery.
As people move away from traditional retailers to online platforms, trade counters act as a last-mile logistics business
As people move away from traditional retailers to online platforms, trade counters act as a last-mile logistics business.
The fundamental strength of last-mile logistics – giving people convenient, accessible points to collect products – will ensure trade counters thrive. They will also benefit from the prime minister’s call to ‘Get Britain Building’ and the need for more housing.
Jeff Hobby is CEO of Dunmoore
Industrial and Logistics supplement November 2020
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Why trade counters buck Covid downturn