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Suppliers need to redistribute stock after pub closures

Wholesalers are set to lose hundreds of millions of pounds in wasted stock as the country enters a second lockdown which sees the hospitality industry shuttered once again.

Suppliers into foodservice are racing to redistribute perishable goods that were intended for restaurants, hotels and pubs.

Wholesale buying group Confex CEO Tom Gittins said it was estimated the new lockdown would result in as much as £200m worth of devalued stock for his members. He urged the government to provide financial help, warning that without it many companies could fold.

“Our members are trying their hardest to service customers as always,” said Gittins. “However, this lockdown will mean that wholesalers do not have the customer base to make their businesses viable. The loss of hospitality and food to go will hit every small delivered wholesaler across the country and to date the government has ignored the vital part that wholesalers provide within the UK food supply chain.

“We have had no specific industry support and have not been given the business rates relief afforded to our customers in hospitality and retail.”

FWD CEO James Bielby warned the cost of wasted stock this month was likely to hit some wholesalers hard as bad debt continued to plague businesses from the first national lockdown.

“As hospitality businesses close their doors once again, the concern is that those with outstanding payments from the spring will fall behind with those payments, as well as new invoices for goods delivered by the wholesaler but not sold yet by the end user. We need the government to recognise the squeezed middle and provide support. The simplest way of doing that is to extend business rate relief to the wholesale sector.”