Retail chain Jollyes has seen wild bird food fly off the shelves over winter and ahead of this weekend’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.
Jollyes sells more than three million fat balls a year and sales of items such as bird feed, peanuts and fat balls have risen by over 10 per cent during lockdown as more people come to appreciate the sight of birds visiting their feeders and bird tables.
As an essential retailer, all 67 of Jollyes’ stores in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have remained open for business during the pandemic – and there has been a sharp rise in sales in the last week in the run-up to this week’s RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch on January 29-31.
Jollyes’ commercial director Chris Burns said: “We’ve seen increased interest in feeding wild birds over the past few years, but it’s really taken off during the coronavirus lockdowns.
“Whether you’ve got a garden, a back yard or a balcony, watching the wild birds brings tremendous pleasure. It’s not just feeding hungry birds, who need extra help during the cold weather, it’s feeding your wellbeing.
“It’s a great way to connect with nature and taking part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is good fun and allows birdwatchers of all abilities to take part in this valuable citizen science project.”
Significant precautions have been put in place at all Jollyes stores to protect customers and staff during the pandemic including social distancing rules, asking customers to wear masks and offering hand sanitiser on arrival and exit. Stores have also increased their cleaning regimes.
From modest beginnings with a single store in Enfield in 1971, Jollyes has now grown into one of the UK’s largest pet superstores with nearly 70 locations across the UK. Many stores also run community clinics offering vaccinations and other advice from vets.