Will the end of Plan B help beat the January blues for retailers?

27 January 2022

With the New Year starting with a whimper rather than a bang following the news of Omicron causing a sizeable dent in what should have been strong retail growth over the Christmas period, it’s understandable that retailers were not feeling optimistic when the clock struck midnight on January 1st.

But fast-forward to now, and despite a tough December, which, as recently reported by the ONS, saw a 3.7% month-on-month decline in high street sales, there now seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel with the news from scientists that Omicron, while more transmissible, is thankfully not as dangerous as previous strains of COVID.

The current ‘Plan B’ COVID restrictions, reintroduced by the Government in light of initial fears about the Omicron variant, are now being lifted from this week. This will mean consumers will hopefully start to regain confidence in visiting the high street again and that people generally will start enjoying socialising with their friends and family more, and this is all sure to bring a smile to retailer’s faces after a difficult couple of years.

New Rules

The biggest changes with the end of Plan B that will benefit the retail, hospitality, leisure and forecourt sectors are:

  • Customers no longer having to wear face masks indoors – which should encourage more customers into stores and promote better customer service instead of everyone being hidden behind masks.
  • People no longer being required to work from home – this will see an increase in small, low-cost purchases, with the morning coffee run and nipping out for a sandwich at lunchtime becoming daily occurrences again, like they were pre-pandemic.
  • Less restrictions on travel and mixing with others – this will help hospitality as people return to eating out in cafes and restaurants; leisure, as people return to normal activities outside work like shopping, sport and cinema visits; and forecourts as people are travelling to work again, petrol sales will increase alongside petrol station retail purchases.

A recent report from retail data experts Springboard has already found that footfall across UK retail destinations has risen 1.5% from early to mid-January and this is likely to continue to rise as more and more of the public start returning to the office.

And with the news that consumers are once again making smaller purchases and visiting more shops, more frequently - like they used to before the lockdown forced them to do one big shop once a week - smaller purchases will bring an increase in something else too - cash payments.

How Volumatic Can Help

While there has been a lot of talk in recent years over the decline of cash, Volumatic published a white paper - Consumers Demand Payment Choice - last year that put to bed some of the many myths surrounding cash payments and proved that consumers are very much still wanting the option to pay by cash.

With 97% of people across the UK admitting they still carry cash on them on a daily basis (Access to Cash Review), retailers will surely see cash payments increase, particularly when it comes to smaller purchases like drinks, magazines, sandwiches and treats for the office.

And with more cash to process at the end of the day, it makes sense for any business that handles cash regularly to take a look at Volumatic’s efficient cash-handling solutions

Whether you’re a big or small retailer; an independent forecourt operator, or part of a chain; running a small hospitality or leisure business, or part of a chain, Volumatic can save you time and money through improved process efficiency, enhanced security and reduced theft.

Whether you’re looking for a basic essential like our CountEasy money counting scale, or looking for an all-encompassing device like our award-winning CounterCache intelligent (CCi), which counts, detects forgeries and securely stores your cash, meaning it’s only touched once from point of sale to your bank, Volumatic can help.

The Area Manager for Valli Forecourts Ltd is quick to agree that the Volumatic CCi has revolutionised their business after rolling it out to all of their retail/forecourt sites. He said: “The CCi has taken our cash handling process from three steps to one and reconciliation from one hour to 20 minutes. We are moving into a new era in the way in which we handle our cash!

Mike Severs, Sales and Marketing Director at Volumatic, said: “With all the signs pointing towards a strong retail recovery in 2022, it’s key that businesses who handle cash are ready for the increased footfall this will bring and are taking steps to remain efficient and keep costs down with the rising overhead this year will bring.”

Volumatic can solve multiple cash handling issues with our innovative range of products, so whether you need cash handling, cash processing or retail security, we’ve got the right solution to help your business.”

Discuss your requirements with us today