Nisa struggles to cope with hot-weather demand spike

Members reported delayed and cancelled deliveries

Nisa members have reported “horrendous” delivery problems in the past few weeks as the retail buying group’s Scunthorpe distribution centre struggled to cope with a massive spike in orders during the long spell of hot weather.

Nisa has admitted that some customers had been affected during last month’s heatwave. But it pointed out that it had achieved its highest ever volume figures through Scunthorpe. It peaked at 2.63 million cases a week - a 35% increase in ambient orders and 50,000 cases up on its previous record, set last year.

One retailer told The Grocer he was sent an “urgent distribution update” email from Nisa that said his order would not be delivered, forcing him to visit his local Booker cash & carry.

“They have been having horrendous delivery problems,” he said.

Another retailer added: “There are lots of people very angry about this and I know some members are threatening to leave over it.” He also claimed a new picking system at Scunthorpe was to blame, but Nisa said this was not the case.

“Although the team worked tirelessly, unfortunately due to the sheer volume of orders Nisa received, some disruption in the delivery service was experienced by a small proportion of members through delayed drops,” said Nisa distribution director Jonathan Stowe.

“The whole team has been 100% focused on addressing this situation and as such normal service has now resumed.”

He added that the company took the issue seriously and had “already invested in improving what is in the main a successful and trusted distribution service”.

This week, Nisa also announced it would pay out £3m to its members in the form of a surplus distribution, with a further £600,000 as dividend payments. The dividend equates to £12 per share, up £4 on last year.