The treacherous weather conditions continue to wreak havoc for Christmas grocery shoppers, with online deliveries struggling to overcome the icy roads.

Sainsbury’s was forced to cancel online orders in Kent this weekend due to the snow, while many grocery deliveries across Cornwall and Devon were never processed.

In Scotland, Tesco Direct had previously announced that it was not taking any new non-grocery orders, prompting other major retailers to follow suit.

Online grocer Ocado promised that nearly all its customer orders would be fulfilled before the Christmas weekend.

An Ocado spokesman said: "Two thousand deliveries were cancelled on Saturday, mainly in the Kent and Surrey area. All of those customers have now been contacted and they are being offered new pre-Christmas slots."

Although Waitrose said Saturday’s total takings were down 11% on last year, the retailer claims festive products, such as Champagne, turkey, glassware and table linens were recording significant growth on a like-for-like basis.

Consumers were battling to reach supermarkets extra-early to stock up on food and drink for the Christmas weekend, Tesco claimed.

It said sales of its cheese boards were up 132% compared with last year, with ales and seasonal boxed chocolates up 70%.

But experts were not optimistic about the supply chain’s chances of coping with the ongoing wintry conditions.

“If this weather persists it is going to be very disruptive to deliveries to supermarkets,” Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight told The Guardian. “Supply chains have been massively hit by the snow and ice this month, with many products being stuck at container ports for an extended period.”

He added: “Deliveries are going to be hit by this weekend’s weather and a lot is going to depend on the weather in the coming week, which isn’t looking good at the moment.”

Read more
Supermarket giants suspend Scots non-food orders (13 December 2010)
Opinion: Make hay while the snow falls? (Convenience Store; 13 December 2010)