Nisa has insisted it has resolved the availability issues that hit the buying group after it took on extra business in the wake of Palmer & Harvey’s collapse.
In the past few weeks Nisa has been handling increased volumes after taking up the slack from P&H to supply stores left in the lurch, including many Costcutter and McColl’s stores.
A contingent of Nisa members have vented their frustration on The Forum, the business’s members-only bulletin board, about delivery shortages.
One Nisa retailer posted a comment saying they were “shocked and appalled” at overall availability.
Another referred to shortage on ambient. “Please explain why there were 44 different products short-delivered yesterday. I’ve never known anything quite as bad as this.”
Another member had complained about having 10 variants of tobacco crossed off his order while a fellow member said eight packs of tobacco were not delivered. “Why do I have to go to Booker to get cigarettes I’ve been shorted,” he wrote.
Sid Ali, managing director of Nasco Retail, comprising five Nisa stores in Aberdeenshire, said the demise of P&H had “caught everyone on the hop”, but it was a temporary problem and now most products and services were back to “where they should be”.
He said: “I think this was a temporary glitch because they took on all those stores at the wrong time of year, at Christmas. We are not as quick to heap praise on suppliers like Nisa when they get it right day-in and day-out. These guys do a fantastic job.”
Emma Jenkins, a Nisa retailer who owns Milverton Stores in Taunton, Somerset, told The Grocer Nisa availability was usually “excellent” but over Christmas it tipped to being “not quite as good”.
Her deliveries had returned over the past couple of weeks to “almost 100%”.
Nisa Retail operations director Jonathan Stowe said January had been more challenging on availability, mainly because of suppliers’ capacity to meet much larger than usual Christmas volumes.
But the real impact for Nisa came towards the end of December with unexpected and “unnatural demand” for a small number of promotional lines.
“The promoted Fairy liquid for example, was an excellent deal which saw demand far in excess of previous promotions and expectation - up 47% on forecast - and not surprisingly this created a challenge,” Stowe said.
“However, throughout the period, the lowest overall availability to members was 91% with supply issues only affecting a small number of promotion lines and we are now significantly improving week on week and are set to return to our usual high standards.”