The demands on supermarkets and the extraordinary change in our customers’ shopping behaviour have been – and continue to be – truly incredible.
Dear colleagues, You don’t need me to tell you that the last week has been unlike any we have experienced in all of our years in retail. The demands on supermarkets and the extraordinary change in our customers’ shopping behaviour have been – and continue to be – truly incredible.
All of us, wherever we work in our great business, have had to change the way we work and respond quickly to these changes. I do not underestimate how hard it has been, and continues to be: I’m so admiring of the attitude and spirit with which you’re approaching the vital role you are all playing in society at the moment, but equally, the pressures you are under are constantly on my mind.
As you know, this weekend we expect that the most vulnerable members of our teams will need to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks. We know this will be hard for some of our colleagues, especially those who live on their own, so we want them all to know that we will be wishing them well, that we will keep in touch and look forward to welcoming them back. We don’t want them to worry about their pay while they are away and we will continue to pay them for this 12 week period.
It’s also vitally important that we play our part in trying to shield our most vulnerable customers from Coronavirus and we want to do everything we can to support this. For the first time, tomorrow we’re dedicating our superstores from opening til 9am to these customers, giving them additional support. I’m very aware that this will be extremely challenging to manage in some of our busiest stores, but, along with the other supermarkets, we know that it’s important that we do our best to help the elderly and vulnerable in our society, and call on our other customers to help us in doing so.
While we have been experiencing a large increase in our sales, we know that many other businesses have been struggling to stay afloat. Thousands of people have been laid off or put on unpaid leave and this crisis is having a real impact on businesses and local communities. I wanted to let you know that we have been working hard to support these businesses, some large, some small, and we have set up a dedicated team to work with them to offer their colleagues short term contracts to work in both our stores and depots during this busy period. We’re working with loads of different businesses and the list is growing every day.
I also know that many of your friends and families’ working lives have been disrupted and we want to help so this week we are launching a fast-track Friends and Family recruitment scheme in every store and depot – please look out for the poster that has all the details on it and pass the message onto anyone you know who needs work and would enjoy working with us.
To help keep you going, over the coming days we will be introducing some extra catering into stores and depots, and we are going to invite local caterers or café owners who are struggling as social events are restricted to do this. Obviously, we will pay for this service so, as well as enjoying some good food, we will be putting something back into our local communities.
Finally, we have also been thinking about our suppliers, particularly the smaller ones who will be finding things tough and have reduced our payment terms, paying them immediately rather than making them wait 14 days.
I’m very proud of every single Asda colleague - of the vital role that you are playing, and of the difference that you are making.
You all have my heartfelt thanks,