After four consecutive years of 15% same-store sales growth, this experiential retailer was facing the prospect of closing for an unknown period of time due to regulations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the amount of time that restrictions would be imposed was unknown, there was careful planning that needed to take place to ensure adequate cash to endure the closure. Staffing continuity was also a priority given the specialized training that each employee received.
As the operation was experiential, there was no way to pivot to an online environment.
To understand the impact of a closure for an unknown period of time and provide enough stability that customers would receive the same quality experience when the re-opening occurred in the future.
We recognized that, with an unknown closure period, a plan needed to be created that would allow flexibility if and as the rules changed. We also knew that, due to the pandemic, it was uncertain what re-opening would look like. Given the nature of this particular experiential retail operation, customers and clients were required to be in close proximity to one another. Hence, there would need to be operational and infrastructure changes in order to re-open. All these factors needed to be taken into consideration.
Full closure was for almost three months, which was one of the mid-range scenarios discussed. However, re-opening was more challenging than expected given the amount of personal protective equipment required, as well as changes to infrastructure. Given the strength of the plans we developed, we were able to minimize impacts and re-open with better-than-expected results from an income and cash perspective.