Major hypermarkets have made the necessary preparations for the expected influx of customers during Eid al-Adha and in Phase 3 of the gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions, which is scheduled to begin on August 1, according to store officials.
But the officials were also quick to stress that while the coming period is expected to increase customer footfall, health and safety protocols will still be strictly enforced in accordance with the regulations prescribed by the Ministry of Public Health.
“Customer footfall is steadily going back to normal as the government eases the lockdown restrictions and as the markets are gradually reopening.
And, because of this, many of our regular customers are now back in our stores,” Safari Mall procurement manager Rajesh Nair told Gulf Times yesterday.
“Safari is well-prepared to receive more customers as we head towards Phase 3 and Phase 4. We are also continuously following the protocols set by the Ministry of Public Health, such as maintaining social distancing and other safety precautions, to protect our customers and staff from Covid-19,” he emphasised.
Similarly, LuLu Hypermarket regional manager Shanavas P M said: “Since Day 1 of the pandemic, LuLu has implemented all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
As we approach Phase 3 of the easing of lockdown restrictions, we are keen to continue in carrying out all the necessary health and safety regulations that the government has imposed to protect the people from the pandemic.
“Social distancing protocols, regular disinfection of the premises and trolleys, the checking of temperatures, and requiring the Ehteraz app before entering the hypermarket, among other precautions, will still be maintained.”
Shanavas said customer footfall was significantly affected because children below 12 years and the elderly are not allowed to enter hypermarkets, according to government restrictions.
But while there was a drop in customer footfall at the beginning of the pandemic, Shanavas noted that LuLu has recently recorded a steady increase in the number of customers, which is expected to continue as Eid al-Adha and Phase 3 are approaching.
As with most businesses, both LuLu and Safari have strengthened their online platforms to reach a wider customer base amid the pandemic.
According to Nair, Safari’s ‘Click & Collect’ App received “an extremely good” response from customers. LuLu, on the other hand, has intensified its online shopping platform to respond immediately to its clients, Shanavas pointed out.
Nair further explained that stores across the country, such as Safari, are expecting good sales in the coming period because the majority of expatriates did not leave the country for Eid al-Adha.
Shanavas also added that LuLu is “well-stocked” for Eid al-Adha. He stressed that essential items, such as food and non-food products, are in stock, which will last until the end of the year.