Leading wholesalers in southern and central England pulled out all the stops to cope with the devastation caused by this week's floods in the region.

Spar wholesaler Capper & Co, which delivers to 500 stores along the M4 corridor, including 20 independent retail customers in the flooded zones, said its sales and logistics teams had been meeting twice a day to monitor the situation.

The wholesaler had increased deliveries to stores from twice weekly to daily. It was also dropping off extra orders of bottled water, ambient goods and part-baked bread. In certain cases it was forced to operate using alternative routes and to deliver at unusual times so it did not hinder rescue operations.

Booker, which has depots in Gloucester and Cheltenham, said both branches had remained open, with electricity and water supplies intact. But it had increased its opening hours so retailers had more time to get to the depot.

Bestway Cash & Carry said its depots had escaped flood problems, although two of its business development managers were trapped in a car on the M5 all night when it came to a standstill on 20 July.

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