The adverse weather conditions have affected retailers’ deliveries and access to stores in the key Christmas trading period, and the snow is poised to continue into next week.
The heavy snowfall across much of the UK this week has led to some delays in delivering to store and home shopping orders, and has meant some customers did not brave the cold to go out shopping. According to weather experts Planalytics, the snowy weather will continue for the next few days.
About 18 to 30 smaller shops at Bluewater struggled to open on Tuesday as staff could not get to their stores or were delayed.
Jones Bootmaker chief executive Ken Bartle described Tuesday as “disastrous” for the retailer. “Due to the snow people couldn’t get into our stores in Bluewater and Bromley [southeast London],” he said.
Multichannel retailers are keeping in touch with customers if their home shopping deliveries face delays, although some have seen spikes in traffic as shoppers stayed home instead of going out.
Shop Direct retail director Gareth Jones said the etailer had set up weather warnings on its website, while Asos said it was working closely with its carriers to monitor any impact.
Argos said it had arranged for extra Sunday deliveries this weekend as some this week were delayed.
The big supermarkets have also experienced some delays. A spokesman for Tesco said certain deliveries were delayed but there had been no product shortages.
He said the main challenge was keeping its car parks free of snow, and it had employed snow ploughs for staff for the task. Morrisons said the snow had made some deliveries “challenging” and that some of its drivers were going out on 48-hour trips, sleeping overnight in their trucks, to ensure deliveries were made.
Asda said it was monitoring the snow closely and that while some deliveries were late, it had not encountered any major hiccups.
Asda was badly hit when the snow fell earlier this year as its stores are mostly out of town. Shoppers struggled to get to them, opting instead for convenience stores.