Co-op Sunday pilot seen as success
Schedule next summer will depend on availability of staff, says Board Chair
At a board meeting on Oct. 25, Victoria Farmers Co-op Store Manager Linda Maciver presented figures from the summer pilot program that offered Sunday shopping for the first time in the store’s history. During July and August, the months in which the pilot ran, overall store sales were up 4.7% from the same period in 2016. Board Chair Heather Macintosh admitted it is hard to know how much of that increase was due to Sunday openings, as opposed to other factors such as a known increase in tourism. Still, she believes it played a part.
“We were pleased with the results of this summer’s pilot,” Macintosh said via telephone on November 5.
“The Board is in support of offering Sunday shopping again next summer. The biggest challenge we face is staffing. We’d like to hire more students, but if you look at the local graduating class, it gets smaller every year.”
Macintosh said that sales were down slightly on Saturdays and Mondays, but that it is normal for any business that opens on Sundays.
“I believe the strength of the numbers show that the Co-op continues to be an important part of the community. If Sunday shopping is a service welcomed by the community, we’re happy to serve. We didn’t hear anything negative about Sundays.”
Macintosh added that the 12 noon to four o’clock opening appeared to be sufficient for people to get in and get out with the items they needed. Many sales appeared to centre around convenience items, such as chips, soda and other snacks.
“The employees deserve a lot of credit for their willingness to adapt to a new schedule and work Sundays.”
Asked whether the strength of the summer pilot project might lead to year-round Sunday shopping, Macintosh replied, “At this point, I don’t foresee us opening on Sundays beyond the summer months. We are still a business, and I’m not sure I see that move as a profitable one.”