The coronavirus pandemic will change the way we live our lives in many, many ways. Some likely changes are more obvious than others at this early stage. I recently explained how home working is likely to grow in popularity following the pandemic, and discussed some firms that could become top growth stocks as a result.
It looks as if conditions on the high street might never be the same after Covid-19, either. The government has announced plans for more retailers like clothes, electricals, and furniture shops to reopen. But shoppers need to be ready for a serious deterioration in the shopper experience.
Things like implementing one-way systems in stores, maximum visitor numbers, and restrictions on trying out products are just a few of the things we can expect on 15 June. Certain of these measures could well last a long time as authorities try to prevent an explosion in new Covid-19 cases. They could stay in place to protect the population against future pandemics too.
Retailers who have been investing huge sums in their online propositions will be encouraged to accelerate their plans. Of course, retailers with comprehensive multichannel strategies and online-only operators will have most to gain from this likely phenomenon. I’m talking about the likes of clothes sellers like ASOS and Boohoo, electricals giant AO World, and grocery plays Tesco and Ocado.
Companies that play a critical role in these retailers receiving and fulfilling their online orders should also benefit. Tritax Eurobox and Urban Logistics, for examples, owners and operators of large warehouses and distribution hubs, also stand to gain. Providers of retail-related software and IT services like Unisys should also benefit as retailers boost spending on e-commerce infrastructure.
More top growth stocks?
It’s becoming clear that sellers of hygiene products are likely to report increased demand following the Covid-19 crisis. It’s not just the practical measures that businesses will have to bring in, like introducing hand sanitiser points. The psychological fallout that the disaster movie of the past few months has had on all of us will boost our need for cleanliness, too.
PZ Cussons has reported strong sales of its soaps and hand sanitisers during the pandemic. Reckitt Benckiser, too has seen demand for its disinfectants rip higher. It’s a trend that appears here to stay in response to peoples’ fears over more deadly diseases emerging. Reckitt chief executive Laxman Narasimhan recently said he expects “a stepping up in both penetration and frequency” when it comes to the sales of the FTSE 100 firm’s hygiene lines.
Reflecting this ‘new normal’, Henkel – which saw sales of its Dial soap detonate in the first quarter – plans to roll out new antibacterial personal care and homecare products, according to media reports. The social and economic consequences of the pandemic will be long term and colossal, sure. But there are likely to be many ways that share pickers can ride new trends. Some truly brilliant growth stocks are likely to emerge from the rubble.
Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended ASOS. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of PZ Cussons. The Motley Fool UK has recommended boohoo group and Tesco. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.