High street retailers face Christmas shortages of toys, clothing, electrical goods and furniture after the snow caused several of the UK’s largest ports.

Maureen Hinton, analyst at Verdict Research, told the Telegraph that chains were “in danger of losing much needed sales as the snow keeps shoppers indoors”.

Container ships were yesterday unable to unload at London Thamesport in Kent, while both container terminals at Tilbury Docks on the Thames were shut due to the snowy weather. The closures meant that container vessels from the Far East were unable to unload goods.

While retailers will have taken delivery of most of their seasonal stock already, some last minute replenishments could be hampered.

The snow has already seen John Lewis report flat weekly sales as shoppers stayed home.