Confectionery sector looks to a more settled summer for retail revival

That’s it! Easter’s done and dusted for another year. It’s too soon to know whether Easter 2022 will be a ‘normal’ one, free of restrictions, but we can always hope.

Confectioners know that Halloween and Christmas are on the horizon, and we’ve got Father’s Day before that. But more than anything, shop-based retailers will be praying for a booming trade as a result of “staycationers” traipsing the high streets.

It’s a sight that is sorely needed to help struggling independents who are running on fumes. Rent arrears and dwindling financial reserves means many small businesses can ill afford another lockdown, so this summer season will be a make-or-break season for many.

While some confectionery businesses have seen sales soar as a result of the lockdowns, others that previously relied on footfall have struggled to recreate the in-store experience in the digital world. As a consumer, it might be easy to spend money online, but making impulse purchases of confectionery is often less attractive than in-store, especially when you take postage costs into account.

High streets across the country have taken the brunt of successive lockdowns, and many retail businesses are calling on Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to come up with a ‘Shop Out to Help Out’ scheme to mirror the support given to hospitality businesses last year.

Pent-up demand and overflowing savings pots are exactly what high street shops need to tap into this summer. We are all fed up with ordering the same old stuff online through lockdown and we are keen to make impulsive purchases of quirky, novel and unique products to treat ourselves and our loved ones. Products that tap into the British resolve and sense of humour will likely do well this year, as will items that evoke a comforting sense of nostalgia, harking back to a time when all was well (you know, like pre-2020!).

The bunny may be off hibernating for another year, but confectioners and chocolatiers have a very busy summer ahead of them. Nobody knows what’s around the corner and while the signs all look positive right now, we’re not out of the storm just yet. Summer 2021 will be a critical period for many, and it is imperative that businesses make the most of any newfound freedoms that come our way to steady the ship.

Guest blog by sector expert David Fiske, @chocolatieruk

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