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Lessons from the COVID19 pandemic: the case of retail and consumer service firms

Grimmer, L ORCID: 0000-0002-6815-0932 2022 , 'Lessons from the COVID19 pandemic: the case of retail and consumer service firms' , Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, vol. 68 , pp. 1-11 , doi:

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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted business operations in every industry and sector around the world. Scholars, practitioners and policymakers continue to engage in understanding the effects of lockdowns, social distancing measures and other restrictions on trade; the impact of government stimulus and support measures, and how businesses have adapted their operations. The dynamic nature of the virus, and the changing socio-political and economic landscape, provide the opportunity for empirical scholarly research examining how retail and service firms have responded to the challenges and potential opportunities presented by the pandemic, and how owner/managers have pivoted in an (often) uncertain trading environment. This paper presents the findings of an applied study involving business owners (N = 268) of SME retail and service firms in the island state of Tasmania, in Australia, during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020. Findings show: (1) despite over 65 per cent of respondents reporting a downturn in revenue during 2020, almost 80 per cent indicated they had confidence in business survival heading into 2021; (2) whilst on average, businesses did not rate the level of environmental hostility as being particularly high, there was a significant correlation between perceived environmental hostility and assessment of business performance and with the level of confidence of business survival; (3) Australian federal government support and other stimulus measures were deemed crucial for business survival during 2020 with three quarters of businesses accessing the 'JobKeeper' scheme, and (4) businesses adapted their operations during the pandemic in terms of new products and services, increased marketing, pivoting their use of technology and promoting 'localness'.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Grimmer, L
Keywords: COVID-19, retail firms, consumer service firms, retail, consumer services, consumer behaviour, SME, Tasmania, marketing
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
ISSN: 0969-6989
DOI / ID Number:
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© 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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