Retailers' tactics for beating last week's snowstorms

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Retailers deployed a host of tactics to beat last week’s snowstorms, with some winning and others losing business as adverse weather swept across the UK. 

Adam Vincent, store manager of Dike & Son in the rural area of Stalbridge, Dorset, said sales were boosted by creating a stock strategy before Storm Emma hit. “We started planning as soon as we heard the weather reports. We spoke to our suppliers to double our frozen food orders. We had our milk supplies arrive a day early, too, before the snow hit, and arranged deliveries in our 4x4 to elderly customers who can’t get out.”

Mr Vincent said they also made the most of leftover stock. “Alcohol is selling well as people stay indoors, so we brought out mulled wine we still had from Christmas. We’ve put port on special offer, too, and will be doing sampling later this afternoon.”

Mr Vincent said the forward planning paid dividends once the snow arrived. “We’re in one of Dorset’s smallest towns, but we’re seeing customers we’ve never had before. It’s one of the benefits of being an independent retailer that we’re able to react to bad weather quickly.”

Retailers in urban areas also saw a business boost. Terry Caton, of Grangewood Stores in Chesterfield, told RN: “People have been in and out all day, stocking up on essentials. It’s just been constant business since the snow started, and I expect it to remain that way all week.” 

However, remote stores served by single roads struggled after being cut off from suppliers. Gail Winfield, of the 727 Newsagent in Lybster, Scotland, did not receive milk, bread or newspapers for several days last week after swathes of Scotland’s A9 road were blocked or closed. “It’s the first time in 20 years that we haven’t been able to sell newspapers,” she said.

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By RN 05 Mar, 2018

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