business news in context, analysis with attitude

In Pennsylvania, the Times-Tribune reports on what it calls "the death of the 24-hour store," noting that "it's becoming increasingly difficult to buy a quart of milk or bottle of Tylenol in the wee hours of the morning as many stores once open 24 hours a day are now closing at midnight or earlier. And for those who have a nontraditional work schedule or sick child, the closures are problematic."

The story quotes Burt Flickinger III, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, as saying that "there are a number of reasons some stores are moving away from 24-hour operations.  He points to a shortage of people willing to work retail because of COVID-19 and public health concerns coupled with those earning extended unemployment benefits as part of the problem.

"Flickinger also noted there has been a record amount of shoplifting across the country, which has led employees to request daytime hours."

In addition, he says, "Signs point to the trend of earlier closures continuing in the coming years because of fewer people making in-store purchases."

KC's View:

I think this latter comment points to a real opportunity for stores that traditionally have been open 24 hours, but now are not offering consumers that option.

The vast majority of those stores have cleanup crews working overnight, even if the doors are not open to shoppers.  And, if they're at all relevant in today's marketplace, they also have click-and-collect delivery spaces.

So what if those stores did a calculation on how many overnight sales they used to make or are likely to make going forward, and then kept someone (maybe more than one, depending on expected traffic) on location able to do the shopping for someone who does have emergency needs?

Stores are always endeavoring to prove they are local at heart, and having a personal shopper working the graveyard shift - there specifically to serve customers in need - might be a compelling offering and selling proposition.