Independent Spar retailer Barbara Clements has turned her business “on its head” by growing her home delivery service in a bid to drive down footfall to the store amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Barbara Clements

Barbara Clements

With the help of a team of 20 volunteers, Spar Preston Road in Weymouth is now making an average of 50 deliveries a day to neighbouring homes.

Store staff compile the deliveries each morning and additional members of staff have been brought in to help from two closed holiday park grocery stores, which Barbara also manages.

The store imposed strict social distancing measures almost a fortnight ago, only allowing two shoppers in at any one time, and has “security” on the door, to ensure that the social distancing rule is enforced.

“Slowing the spread of this virus is of the utmost importance and we are trying desperately hard to do our bit in the local area by helping all people, not just the elderly and vulnerable, to stay at home and not come out for groceries,” she said.

Footfall to the store has been “significantly” reduced since the acceleration of the free home delivery service, however “far too many people” are still venturing out, Barbara said.

“It’s shocking how some people will still come out for just the odd thing, such a stamp or a packet of crisps,” Barbara said.

“We are suddenly asking people to break life-long habits overnight and it’s hard, but it has to be hard if we are to beat this thing.”

Deliveries to the store have generally been “very good” with just the odd difficulty sourcing toilet roll, flour and pasta on occasion, she added