Delays to festive gifts

SHOPPERS in Wigan are experiencing disruption as snow hampers deliveries to stores across the borough.

While supermarket managers say they have been largely unaffected by the icy conditions, some customers have reported seeing empty shelves in the rush to buy essentials like milk and bread as temperatures plummet.

And smaller food stores have admitted the freezing weather has caused late deliveries of their chilled goods.

Somerfield manager Kevin Frost, in Gerard Street, Ashton, said: “The main problem we’re facing is that deliveries are arriving late. Fresh deliveries, like produce and chilled meat, have been arriving the day after they should do. They have to travel around the North West so it affects a number of stores.” Although snowfall in Wigan has not been as heavy as in some parts of the country, the town is preparing for more problems with icy temperatures set to continue into next week.

Across the country, Royal Mail has suspended its guaranteed next day delivery service while Amazon is among retailers warning items will be delayed.

Additional trucks and rail services had been used to move mail to distribution centres as close as possible to the area for delivery.

One parcel carrier, Global Freight Solutions, said the weather had caused a “huge backlog” in shipments and that it had three million parcels awaiting delivery. The online retailer Amazon website warned that deliveries may be delayed by one or two days for customers living in a snow-affected area.

Big chains have reported a surge in business with Marks & Spencer witnessing a 121 per cent increase in demand for thermal clothing.

Meanwhile Asda said it had sold about 100,000 units of de-icer for car windows.

Global Insight analyst Howard Archer said that the timing of the weather was “worrying for retailers in particular”.

Global Insight analyst Howard Archer said that the timing of the weather was “particularly worrying for retailers in particular”.