The 2020 Christmas holiday season presents UK retailers with a unique challenge as they navigate stringent COVID-19 containment measures and prepare for Britain’s departure from the European Union.
That great Britain is struggling to load a new, fast spreading variant corona virus, meanwhile agreed to a new UK trade relationship with the European Union after leaving the bloc.
As the new national lockdown has begun and the coronavirus vaccine is launched, here is how some UK retailers fared, with the latest news first:
MARKS & SPENCER
M&S reported another big drop sales clothes and household appliances in the three months leading up to Christmas, as restrictions to curb the spread of demand for coronavirus hits and close shops.
PETS AT HOME
The pet supplies retailer raised its pretax profit forecast for the second time in five months after a strong Christmas sale, lifting its shares higher.
That pub Operators said they expected pubs to close at least until March as part of a nationwide lockdown that was imposed earlier this week, with some restrictions remaining even after businesses were allowed to reopen.
The supermarket group raised its annual profit forecast because it reported strong trade in the Christmas quarter when COVID-19 restrictions saw people eat and drink at home.
The discount retailer reported a 22.5% jump in holiday quarter sales and declared special dividends, benefiting from low prices and stores that remained open during the lockdown.
The fashion retailer reported a 58% drop in store sales over the seven weeks that included the holiday season and warned it would hit up to 18 million pounds ($ 24.5 million) if new COVID-19 restrictions continued.
MITCHELLS & BUTLER
The company said it was exploring raising equity capital as a new national lock closed the pub operator’s site, adding no decisions had yet been made on timing, size or requirements.
That Baker and fast food retailers have slowed the decline in sales caused by the pandemic but do not expect profits to return to pre-pandemic levels through 2022 at the earliest.
The tile retailer said the UK’s new lockdown, which has closed the company’s stores for browsing, was expected to hit sales and margins.
Strong sales of champagne and whole salmon helped the supermarket group overtake bigger rivals over Christmas as Brits made up for pandemic-related restrictions on pubs and restaurants by treating themselves at home.
The British fashion retailer beat its forecast for Christmas sales despite COVID-19 restrictions that closed stores in November and the last shopping days of December, resulting in another increase to its underlying profit guide.
The UK branch of the German discount supermarket group said sales were up 10.6% year on year in the four weeks to December 24, with a surge in demand for premium products helping deliver a record Christmas performance.
ENGLISH RELATED FOOD
Primark owners said that the tougher lockdown measures in the UK and Ireland would result in an estimated sales loss of 650 million pounds this financial year, up from a previous estimate of 430 million pounds.
The Gallatin Rehabilitation and Healing Center in Gallatin, Tennessee, is shown in this March 30 photo file. Nursing homes have difficulty recruiting staff before the coronavirus pandemic, which makes staffing more challenging in nursing homes, which have witnessed coronavirus outbreaks throughout the country.
The already daunting task of finding staff for Maine nursing homes and assisted living facilities is only becoming more difficult now because the spread of the corona virus has been documented in several of these places.
At least two dozen workers have been infected on the Internet ongoing outbreak which have been detected at facilities in Belfast, Augusta and Scarborough. That’s 24 workers who must now leave work for at least two weeks to recover and ensure they are not contagious, even when the facility has to take additional stress on caring for sick residents.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country, finding replacements for 24 workers would be a challenge in industries facing sharp staff shortages.
Facilities may have to pay extra to outside agents to supply temporary workers. Absenteeism will also go to other long-term care facilities where infected employees work in second, third or fourth jobs. That is normal in a profession where nursing assistants who help residents with everything from bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom get an average salary $ 14.59 per hour in Maine last year
Now, the difficulty is multiplied by the risk that any substitute worker can get COVID-19 – a disease caused by a new corona virus – when they enter an outbreak facility. What’s more, there is also the danger that employees who work in several different locations can accidentally spread infection outside the location of the plague as well.
This situation is even more challenging because the state is only able to provide a limited supply of personal protective equipment or PPE, for the country’s long-term care facilities, according to Jess Maurer, executive director of the Maine Council on Aging, a network. a group that is trying to improve care for the elderly across the state. He noted that at least 14 workers had tested positive for the virus in Augusta Health and Rehabilitation Center, where almost two-thirds of the 63 population were also stated positive.
“Everyone on staff must go. They can’t keep working, “Maurer said.” Now, you bring in 14 new people and potentially expose them and try to resist the spread, and you deal with people who are very, very sick, and through PPE like crazy. My heart is really destroyed for this situation. ”
In Maine, at least one worker from three outbreak-affected facilities was working at “a number of different facilities,” according to Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It is not uncommon for staff to share facilities, for example therapists or technicians who may have appointments at different and rotating facilities across the state,” Shah told a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “That is a common practice not only with long-term care facilities, but in the world of health care as a whole.
“We have not yet identified one person who unites these three facilities,” Shah said, “but that is part of our investigation process.”
To help long-term care facilities deal with new challenges posed by coronavirus, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services now provides an additional $ 8.8 million in state and federal dollars for care facilities over a three-month period starting in March to cover costs associated with coronavirus , according to Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. The additional budget bill passed by the Legislature for wrapping up business last month also included funds to increase the wages of direct care workers in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
And on Monday, Shah announced that Maine CDC was preparing to send dozens of shipments of personal protective equipment to long-term care facilities throughout the state.
The shipment is above emergency supplies that have been sent to three facilities that have so far experienced an outbreak: the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough, Tall Pines Pension and the Health Care Community in Belfast and the Augusta Health and Rehabilitation Center.
The pandemic has exacerbated the amount of pressure placed on long-term care facilities in Maine, according to Rick Erb, executive director of the Maine Health Care Association, a trade group for Maine nursing homes and helping residential facilities.
“Before the COVID-19 crisis, there were already well-documented labor shortages in long-term care. That is our starting point, “Erb said. “COVID-19 has made the situation even more complicated, due to the need for additional staff and problems that arise when staff begin to test positively, which we see now.”
Erb said that the new state resources would help facilities to deal with the increased demand for the corona virus, but he also said that some facilities were still worried about whether they would have adequate protective equipment if they too experienced outbreaks.
One of the unique challenges of this pandemic is finding staff to work in long-term care facilities that lack staff when there is a risk that asymptomatic employees can spread infections, especially when they work elsewhere, Erb said.
While the facilities may not have the luxury of rejecting staff working in other centers, he said they could try to reduce risk with other measures, such as strict screening for workers and additional use of protective equipment.
“Long-term care is very labor intensive,” he said. “This requires people with special skills and licenses. That hasn’t changed, and there is a limited pool to draw from. ”
Watch: Should you move loved ones from care facilities during the outbreak?