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Ensuring Operational Resilience for a Large Retail Company During COVID-19

International SOS helped protect the 80,000 employees of a large retail company amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.



The arrival of COVID-19 in the UK in early 2020 had a massive impact on one of Britain’s premium retail institutions. Their executive team was challenged with keeping their 300 food stores open during government restrictions and 'lockdowns'. With the shift to online ordering, they were also concerned about safeguarding their internet delivery warehouses to remain fully operational. Across both channels, it was imperative to ensure that their staff remained safe. 


Our advisors worked with the executive team to review the COVID-19 risks impacting operations and how to best manage them. We provided briefings to their Board. Moreover, we delivered educational videos for their employees to reinforce their safety message. Finally, we advised on face coverings and executing risk assessments of their head office and main online delivery warehouse.

Our risk assessments led to the reinforcement of mask wearing, social distancing and site communications to their employees. A particular challenge was protecting the 3,000 people working at the 24/7 main warehouse to fulfil their ever-increasing online orders. The company wanted to ensure that the site continued to operate at full capacity. We recommended a combination of control measures. These included temperature screening, rapid COVID-19 antigen screening for suspected cases and a PCR test to confirm any positives.

We provided temperature scanners, rapid Antigen tests and PCR tests. We also provided healthcare staff to run the service with all appropriate PPE and support services for seven days a week. We also arranged home PCR testing for the company’s food tasters before they travel to sites.


The stores and warehouses have continued to operate throughout COVID-19. Through awareness training, employees had the confidence to know that their work environment is safe and secure. Their executive team were secure in knowing they would receive the most accurate and relevant advice from our health advisors.