Henderson retail ‘now ahead of where it was in 2019’
Henderson Group says the foodservice side of its business is now ahead of where it was in 2019 – despite the pandemic.
In an interview which will appear in the forthcoming Neighbourhood Retailer yearbook 2021, Henderson NI MD Martin Agnew outlines how business has held up through a tough 2021.
Since the gradual reopening of the hospitality sector, he says, the retail end of the business is now ahead of where it was in 2019.
“We’re well up on the retail business on 2019, and have just about found ourselves in front in Northern Ireland when it comes to foodservice, but not in the Republic where there have been more restrictions in place for longer,” Mr Agnew says.
“It’s been very stop-start and it has been hard for the sector to retain people – so many people left when the sector closed down and got jobs elsewhere. It’s been hard to attract people back in – there are still staff shortages and chef shortages.
“In retail, it’s been the reverse challenge – the retail business has been trying to cope with extra demand and mitigate the surge. I suppose business has continued in 2021 much as it did in 2020, opening new stores, acquiring new stores as they became available, preparation on the tech side of the business.
“The food service business is starting to come back, though. 2022 will be different for hospitality purely from a consumer behaviour point of view – hopefully where staycations decrease, overseas tourism for NI will grow again.”
Read the full interview in the forthcoming Neighbourhood Retailer yearbook.