Retailers have pulled out all the stops to battle flooding in England including a £400,000 donation from Asda as both stores and local communities are hit by the wet weather.
The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for heavy rain across south-west England and south Wales and much of southern England is already under water.
The grocers were among those leading the efforts to tackle the flooding. Asda has donated £400,000 to local communities through its foundation and has been hosting fundraising events at stores local to affected areas.
The grocer donated £2,000 in Taunton to buy 25 tonnes of straw and feed for cattle and has delivered food parcels to evacuated families in Bridgwater.
Asda chief executive Andy Clarke said: “The least we can do is to try and help those worst hit by the adverse weather conditions.
“Our stores will be working directly with their local communities to identify who needs our support, it’s hugely important to everyone at Asda that we are able to give something back to the communities when they need it the most.”
Marks & Spencer is providing food to relief workers and those living in flood-hit communities and has pledged to support its affected farmers. Its package of cash and goods is worth £150,000.
Tesco staff at its Langport Metro store in Muchelney, Somerset have worked for four weeks with local lifeboat teams to send food supplies to the villages and allowed families to pay for the items at a later date.
Tesco has also set up a helpline for farmers and is collecting feed from farms around the country to be delivered to farms in the south. Tesco expects to deliver around 840 bales of feed this week.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We are working with the Somerset Emergency Flood Relief Fund to host fundraisers across our stories in the region. We’ll be supporting their efforts with a further top-up for the total they collect.”
Electricals group Dixons has supplied emergency relocation centres with items such as kettles and toasters. The Currys and PC World owner has also provided fridges, which are important for storing medicine as well as food.
Dixons chief executive Sebastian James said: “The least we can do is to make the emergency centres in affected areas more comfortable for their temporary residents.
“In the longer term we will also provide free installation for large electricals being replaced. We want to help people get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”
A Morrisons spokesman added: “We put a call out to any farmers in the South West on Friday, offering the help of our fleet of livestock vehicles if they had any sheep or cattle in distress. We also offered them priority slots for their livestock at our abattoirs if they needed them.”
Retailers have been impacted across the south with car parks under water and high streets deserted.
Sainsbury’s car park in Canterbury and B&Q’s in Reading was submerged with water at the weekend and the Oracle shopping centre in Reading is suffering the same problem. Flooding in the roads around Debenhams store in Chertsey has also impacted the store.
Dunelm said one store had failed to open in Oxford as the road to the retail park was flooded while its stores in Devon and Somerset had suffered lower footfall due to the water levels in surrounding areas.
Dunelm boss Nick Wharton told Retail Week: “It’s impacting in local catchments but not at a broader business level.”
Fears are also mounting that arable and vegetable crops could be devastated across the south and planting for future crops has been delayed by the flooding.