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Posted At: 08 January 2010 17:14 PM
Related Categories: Social Commentary


Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past week or so (or somewhere other than the UK, maybe), you can’t have failed to notice that we are currently in the grip of something. Something we still get quite excited about, as it’s a rarity for us Brits. That something is snow. We do get a few flurries every now and then, but at the moment we are under inches. There is a fantastic photograph of the UK from space out there on the ‘net, and if you choose to go and find it, you’ll see to what extent we’ve been affected this deluge.
It’s caused forced days off for workers and school children, staff shortages across the country, including within the emergency services…which have been stretched, due to people slipping on the ice. Shelters for the homeless and the stranded have been opened, and councils across the land have come under the collective public wrath for being tight with the grit. Yes, the snow has been the only news worth reporting since it began on Tuesday, and predictions are that it will be around for some time to come.

But could this actually be a GOOD thing for retailers?

On the negative side, retailers face the same difficulties as everyone else; Sainsbury’s and Tesco have all issued statements claiming that people who do not show up to work because of the snow will not get paid, and keeping deliveries running in this cold weather must be a challenge.

On the positive side, however, we must remember that people are intensely paranoid. Though the snow is not blocking access to doors and windows (in most parts!) we do insist on using the term ‘snowed in’ which only serves to compound our theory that we must…fill our cupboards!

There have been pictures of empty supermarket shelves in the pages of my local newspaper this week, and I’ve witnessed people battling through with their shopping trolleys to get their supplies.

Sainsbury's have said that sales of flasks and travel mugs were up more than 160% on this time last year, while sales of tinned items, hot cereals and candles and matches were also expected to increase.

Online shopping levels are also expected to rise as people are stuck at home and are simply getting bored, and retailers of sledges, rock salt and shovels are all rubbing their hands with glee.

For those unfortunate who do not sell useful goods, though, all is not lost. One comment I found on the Internet suggested this down time has provided a great opportunity to do routine cleaning and maintenance undisturbed.

So whatever situation you find yourself in, remember there is a silver lining! Or should that be a ‘white’ lining…? Sorry!

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The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinion of the author and are not intended as statements of fact and do not represent the view of SnapShop or Pragma in any way.


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