Retail consultancy supporting Tesco and B&Q ready to dial up activity with Lloyds Bank support
A Newport business which helped set up pop-up Tesco stores around NHS Nightingale hospitals is preparing to dial up support for retailers across the UK with the support of Lloyds Bank.
Family-run Retail Merchandising Services has secured a £700k Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan via the lender that will ease any cashflow issues faced by the business as its project-based work begins to return post-lockdown.
With a national client base including major supermarkets and retailers such as Sainsbury’s, B&Q and John Lewis, Retail Merchandising Services specialises in planning and delivering seasonal in-store projects and events, as well as new store openings. This includes installing and staffing pop-up sales events, managing stock replenishment and driving customer engagement during exceptionally busy trading periods.
The business saw a significant increase in demand for its services in the grocery sector during the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic as supermarkets contended with exceptional customer demand and staff absences. However, the temporary closure of non-essential retail stores meant the firm’s project work eventually slowed and led to the decision to furlough the majority of its staff on a phased basis.
With non-essential retailers now re-opening stores, the funding will provide the firm with the flexibility to retain jobs across the UK while mobilising teams regionally to implement new seasonal projects. Retail Merchandising Services can employ up to 1,000 people each year as result of seasonal demand.
Daniel O’Toole, owner and chief executive officer of Retail Merchandising Services, said: “We’ve worked with the UK’s largest retailers consistently throughout our 15-year history so were well-positioned to support them through the initial weeks of the pandemic, which were akin to Christmas in terms of demand. However, as seasonal changes to stores have been put on hold across the retail sector, we’ve had to manage our costs while protecting our specialist employees who might normally travel the length of the country to deliver a project. We also wanted to continue to support our seasonal workers who may have missed out on the benefits of other government schemes.
“The team at Lloyds Bank has helped us to arrive at a funding solution that meets those needs while giving us the cashflow to resource projects quickly as lockdown measures begin to ease.”
Chris Ryan, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “The impact of Covid-19 on the retail sector has been polarised and Retail Merchandising Services has experienced both sides of the coin, while continuing to deliver important projects like those supporting NHS Nightingale staff.
“In whatever form it takes, we’re proud to be by the side of businesses helping the national effort against Covid-19 and will continue to support them as they look to bounce back in the weeks and months ahead.”