Britain Snow Crisis = Panic Buying In Shops

Britain’s prolonged big freeze has sparked panic buying of essential food items as suppliers yesterday reported shortages of key products.

With forecasters predicting that the chill could stretch into February, millions took advantage of the improved weather conditions at the weekend to stock up. At supermarkets and local stores across the country shoppers were seen cramming trolleys full of food and basic household items in case fresh snowfalls prevent them making it out again in the next few days. In some areas yesterday the food frenzy saw shelves cleared of all bread and milk and other everyday essentials. The rush to stockpile key groceries has compounded food supply problems caused by snow-blocked roads halting deliveries. And yesterday there were predictions that food prices could rise as a result of the shortages.

The Association of Convenience Stores, which represents 33,500 local stores, said some of its members had been unable to bring in fresh supplies due to impassable roads. ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan said: “Bread, milk and eggs are the staples people have been buying much more than they usually do and people are choosing to go to their local shops more. There is pressure on keeping up with the demand.” Major supermarkets yesterday reported rising sales of staple groceries but insisted that most deliveries were getting through as usual.

Sainsbury’s spokeswoman Gillian Taylor said: “We are definitely seeing an increase in people buying things like milk and bread. Instead of buying one loaf they are buying two or three but we haven’t run out.”

At one Tesco store in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, yesterday there were several aisles of empty shelves.

“Most of the bread had gone, in fact I’d say the shelves were 90 per cent empty,” one shopper said. “A lot of the freezers were empty too where people were buying frozen vegetables and chips, and the toilet roll section was empty as well.”

Some shops have enjoyed record sales over the past fortnight of freezing weather, with goods flying out of stores in larger quantities than before Christmas. Stephen Alambritis, chief spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses whose 215,000 members include local shopkeepers, warned that food prices could increase because of the strain on supplies. He said: “Our members have had a run on vegetables and food, which they are pleased about because it has brought them in some money but the replacements have been thin on the ground.

“There is concern that farmers have not been able to bring the harvest in for such items as potatoes, sprouts and cabbages which reduces the amount available to stores and pushes up prices. That is an element of concern we will be raising with Ministers: Stocks run low, prices go up.

“Supermarkets may be able to hold prices for now but small businesses will have to pass increases on to their customers, which is damaging for business and even the supermarkets may have to push up prices if this goes on until February.”

Thousands of litres of milk have already been dumped by dairy farmers in places where blocked or dangerous roads have prevented tanker drivers making their usual collections.

Records of extreme cold and snow where the northern hemisphere is being gripped by some of the worst winter weather in decades, are coming in from Japan, China, South Korea, North America , Spain and of course Britain.

Hmmm, how does this fit into the global warming theory?


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