COVID-19 – Costcutter: Keeping customers, communities and key workers going

Bibby Line Group // 23rd April 2020

  • Pop up shops in 20 NHS hospitals to support key workers
  • Innovative support to communities including high risk customers
  • Quick reaction helps protect colleagues

As you might expect Costcutter Supermarkets Group (CSG) is playing a vital role during the COVID-19 pandemic, with stores across the country providing essential groceries and household goods.

However, what you may not know is that CSG is going above and beyond to offer a raft of innovative support to shoppers during the crisis, from offering free delivery to elderly and vulnerable customers, to help setting up community hubs, through to providing ‘pop up’ stores in NHS hospitals.


Supporting the NHS

You may have read in the news that CSG were delighted open temporary ‘pop-up’ stores in 20 NHS hospitals in England following the temporary closure of some retailers across the sites, including North Middlesex Mini Mart (see image below).

Designed to be operational throughout the coronavirus crisis, the new pop up stores will provide NHS key workers with access to a core range of everyday essentials including grocery products.

This includes bread and milk, as well as basic meal solutions, confectionery products and household items such as toilet rolls and soaps.

Bill Randles, Head of National Retail Accounts at CSG, said:

“With a number of retail units forced to close due to the COVID-19 crisis, it is vitally important that the NHS staff at these hospitals can easily get hold of core grocery and household products that they need.

“That’s why we have worked hard to open these stores in record time and while the range of products that we are offering in these stores is limited by the facilities, we are confident that NHS key workers will find these everyday essentials helpful.”


Supporting social distancing

To support social distancing, CSG has produced over 10,000 social distancing floor stickers and worked with key suppliers to source protective Perspex screens for independent retailers to order via the group at cost price.

CSG has also developed a comprehensive guide on implementing social distancing measures in stores.

CSG’s Marketing Director, Sean Russell, said:

“Our main priority is the welfare of our retailers, their staff, shoppers and our colleagues and we’ve moved swiftly to support our retailers in implementing social distancing measures in store.

“We’ve also been hugely encouraged by the large number of our independent retailers who have adapted their stores and services to help their local communities, from offering home delivery, call and collect service for key workers, to installing hand wash stations outside stores.”


Supporting communities

As convenience retail plays an ever-increasing role in supporting local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, CSG is keen to support local communities.

A great example of this is a new pop-up shop in the village of Fangfoss which provides a vital shopping service for the local community.

The CSG team are working hard to ensure that elderly and vulnerable customers are able to benefit from the store, with home deliveries where possible and allocated timeslots through the week.

Pamela Broughton, who is co-ordinating the village volunteer support group, said:

“The village is very excited about having the pop-up shop here.  At this difficult time it is a tremendous boost that people can buy locally and minimise the risk.

“We have a large volunteer group supported by the Parish Council and St Martin’s Church and we are all very appreciative of the efforts that Costcutter have gone to to get the shop open and we are delighted to welcome them to the village.”


Supporting colleagues

From the start of the COVID-19 crisis, CSG has put colleague safety and welfare at the forefront of its response.

Dedicated support was put in place for some critical functions and those who were less familiar with working from home.

Support Centre managers also moved quickly to put in place regular, virtual meetings and also more informal virtual catch ups, to ensure colleagues not only to receive critical business updates but also to continue to feel connected and supported.

This includes continuing the monthly colleague briefings, utilising MS Teams to enable the executive team to directly update colleagues via video.

People policies were quickly adapted and comprehensive new guidance issued regularly to all colleagues including crucial resources to help support colleagues mental health and wellbeing.

The groups mental health first aiders are also offering support to colleagues across the business.

Commenting on CSG colleagues response to the crisis, CEO Darcy Willson-Rymer said:

“I am extremely proud of CSG colleagues and how everyone has adapted and reacted positively to our new working environments. The sudden shift of having to operate a fast paced business remotely has been a challenge but one which the whole team has risen to meet brilliantly. I am also especially proud of colleagues working in our company owned and independent retailer stores.

“I am sure colleagues across the Bibby Line Group will join me in thanking them for their incredible efforts and putting aside their own concerns and challenges, to help feed the nation at this crucial time.”


Read more about our companies response to COVID-19

Bibby Distribution

Bibby Marine

Bibby Financial Services


BLG Head Office




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