Blog: Leonie BarrieBig freeze chills retailers

Leonie Barrie | 6 January 2010

It’s a well-known fact that the Brits like nothing better than to chat about the weather – so you can imagine what a field-day the media is having over here now that we’ve really got Arctic conditions to contend with.

And with the UK in the midst of its worst cold snap in almost 30 years, it seems the country is struggling to cope. Panic buying at supermarkets, fears that gas supplies are about to run out, the Army being drafted in to rescue stranded motorists, councils running out of grit, hospitals cancelling operations, and road and rail chaos are just some of the stories doing the rounds today.

Businesses, too, are starting to count the cost of the UK’s complete and utter failure to cope with the extreme weather conditions, which forecasters say could last until the weekend. Experts say the disruption could cost the UK economy up to GBP2bn as workers stay at home – and of course this translates into lost sales for retailers too.

But there is some small consolation as shoppers are also stocking up on cold weather gear, including gloves, hats and boots. Thermal underwear sales are also said to be up ten-fold at Asda and M&S is selling several pairs of gloves per second.

Snow costs retailers, but economic impact negligible


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