Dubai: Retail chains in the UAE are taking measures to ensure consumer safety by sanitising shopping trolleys even as some have reported a spike in online purchase of grocery items in the recent weeks.
In view of the COVID-19 outbreak, retailers said they have been taking several measures to ensure the health and safety of their consumers and staff members.
Retail group Lulu said it has already implemented a prevention mechanism with regards to hygiene and safety of consumers and employees all across its branches.
“We have started putting extra efforts on cleaning customer utility products such as shopping trolleys, hand carts, escalator railings, lifts, especially lift buttons and all other common touch points,” said V. Nandakumar, chief communications officers of Lulu Group.
He said all the staff members, especially those on the front end, have been trained to carry out frequent checks on these touch points to ensure highest standard of cleanliness.
Another retail chain, Union Coop, said in a statement that it has also been getting the shopping carts and trolleys sanitized regularly to make shopping safer for its consumers.
Assuring a safe shopping experience to consumers, Union Coop’s director of Happiness & Marketing Department, Dr. Suhail Al Bastaki, said: “Union Coop management is very particular about permanently washing and sterilizing the shopping carts completely with water, soap and sterilizing substances, as well as implementing the initiative of sterilization of the handles of shopping carts recently to ensure the safety and health of the visitors.”
He said the group has dedicated staff members in branches to ensure the cleanliness of trolleys and carts before and after consumer use.
“Furthermore, we have installed sanitization pods in different areas of Union Coop branches for consumers and shoppers to sanitize their hands continuously free of cost, as a part of our precautionary measures to provide additional protection to consumers while shopping.”
Al Bastaki said consumers can be assured of the fact that all the front-end staff follow appropriate standards of hygiene and sterilization.
He said the chain will also be organizing workshops for the employees in cooperation with the competent authorities on how to prevent Coronavirus and its spread.
Nandakumar said Lulu’s web store has seen an increase in online orders for groceries in the past few weeks.
“More people have been purchasing grocery items through our online portal. It has been a growing trend in the past few weeks. We are making arrangements to meet the increasing demand for online delivery service by boosting logistic arrangements and manpower requirement.”
Philippe Peguilhan, country manager of Carrefour UAE at Majid Al Futtaim Retail, said Carrefour has also seen a similar trend.
“We have seen a marked increase in online shopping in the last four weeks, compared to the previous period. In response to growing demand, we are replenishing stocks more frequently and adding resources to our fulfilment centres in order to guarantee delivery to our customers.”
Though the in-store sales have been consistent, Union Coop said, the online trade of grocery items has also seen an upward trend because considerable number of grocery products have been uploaded and the chain had recently revamped its web store.
“We believe online shopping is the inevitable future and we should embrace it.”
Kamal Vachani, group director of Al Maya Group, attributed the increase in online shopping to convenience for customers.
“Online sales are increasing because people want to get things delivered as per their convenience. That doesn’t mean that people are not coming to the shops. People are aware that proper hygiene precautions are enough to stop the spread of the virus.”
UAE mall installs UV sterilizers on escalator handrails
A mall in Sharjah has claimed to be the pioneer in installing UV sterilizers on its escalators’ handrails.
Sahara Centre in Sharjah said on Tuesday that the sterilizers wipe out 99.99 per cent of germs on handrails through a process known as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI).
“This comes as part of Sahara Centre’s care for the well-being of its visitors, especially children, by consistently introducing initiatives and products that emphasise hygiene and safety,” the mall said in a press release.