Delivered wholesalers have placed further restrictions on orders to help maintain availability and keep retailers safe amid the coronavirus pandemic

Nisa and Costcutter retailers, which use a delivery network served by DHL as part of the symbol groups’ supply agreement, will now receive ambient orders three days from ordering, instead of two days later. 

In a message sent to Costcutter retailers last week, the symbol group’s CEO, Darcy Willson-Rymer, said the decision was “essential for maintaining the stability of the network” during the outbreak.

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“We know this change impacted all retailers, as did the change to order cut- off times, but I hope you also appreciate that drastic action such as this was essential for maintaining the stability of the network,” he said.

The cut-off times for Nisa and Costcutter retailers ordering chilled and frozen has been switched from 12pm to 10.30am, while retailers are required to order ambient products by 2.30pm instead of 4pm. 

Retailers have until 12pm to order ambient products on Saturdays. 

Retailers also saw click and collect from wholesaler Parfetts resume this week after a 10-day suspension to help manage stock shortages.  

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Jai Singh, of MJ’s Go Local Extra in Sheffield, praised the company for its efforts in maintaining availability. “All wholesalers are having availability issues because of what’s happening. It’s unavoidable,” he said. “However, Parfetts has been really good at maintaining more than 90% availability in some categories and it stocks up immediately when its can.”

Andy Morrison, trading director of delivered wholesaler Dee Bee Wholesale, added: “More than 80% of our business is delivered wholesale and companies within the sector are facing lots of challenges. We’re allocating stock in a way to ensure all our retailers have availability and we’re ensuring our delivery drivers follow social distancing guidelines.”

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Booker has also altered its returns policy. A spokesperson said: “In a small number of cases, to operationally support our branch teams, we have moved to a centrally resourced customer service team. 

“Due to the current challenges, we are no longer able to take delivered stock back. However, customers can bring it back to us on their next visit to the branch. 

“To ensure we are providing the most efficient service we can, we have temporarily suspended frozen deliveries. 

“These changes are designed to simplify what we do so that we can provide more of what our customers need and we are grateful for their understanding and support.”

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