Retailers have spent the week counting the cost of the floods caused by Storm Desmond in the North West of England and Scottish Borders, while at the same time doing as much as they could to assist communities.
Regional player Booths, which has the biggest presence in the area, was among the hardest hit. As The Grocer went to press, its stores in Keswick and Kirkby Lonsdale remained closed. The retailer was laying on free shuttle buses for shoppers to stores in nearby towns. A third store, in Torrisholme, was closed until Tuesday due to power cuts.
Booths said there had been some distribution issues as roads had been blocked. However, it stressed distribution teams had gone to great lengths to get stock to stores. The retailer has received praise locally for a large donation of cleaning and household products to the food bank in Keswick.
Three other retailers still have stores closed.
This includes the Sainsbury’s store in Carlisle. “We are currently assessing the impact before reopening,” a spokeswoman said. “We are supporting the local community where we can.” Sainsbury’s Lancaster supermarket and its Penny Street Local, also in Lancaster, were closed temporarily but are now open again.
Meanwhile, the Tesco Extra in Carlisle was completely flooded, as was The Co-op Group store in Appleby.
Due to the uncertainty over when the stores will be fit to reopen, Tesco and The Co-op are planning temporary pop-up stores. Tesco plans to have a temporary outlet in the car park up and running by 18 December.
Tesco gave lunch to more than 100 members of the emergency services and has helped supply sandwiches, water and toothpaste to hundreds of people taking refuge in Kendal village hall. “We are donating food and essentials to crisis centres and community groups and our colleagues have been working over the weekend to help those who need it,” said a spokesman. “We’ll continue to help and are doing our best to minimise the impact on communities in the run-up to Christmas.”
The chain is also setting up collection points in stores to enable customers to donate to people in need of essentials.
It was not just retailers affected. The United Biscuits factory in Carlisle remains closed. “The local water levels have subsided and site access has been regained,” said a spokeswoman. “Once temporary power supplies are reinstated, we will be able to update further on a timetable for resumption of production.”
Storm Desmond: how grocery responded
Stores in Morecambe and Lancaster suffered from a power outage on Sunday and reopened on Tuesday. The Bishop Auckland store closed due to flooding on Sunday, reopening Monday.
Morrisons’ Morecambe store closed at the weekend due to a power cut. Its cafés in Kendal, Carlisle and Hawick provided free food and drink and it delivered supplies to crisis centres.
M&S said it had not been adversely affected and all its sites had continued to trade. Stores in Kendal and Lancaster have been providing refreshments to the emergency services.
Stratford-upon-Avon based distributor DCS Group has despatched a lorry-load of household cleaning products to be used by the volunteer teams in Carlisle.