This week Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s stopped taking online orders in Scotland ahead of Christmas peak trading, due to severe weather in the country.
But the bicycle industry is rolling on despite the tough operating conditions, with distribution firms north of the border revealing to BikeBiz that they’ve experienced minimum disruption to deliveries and staffing.
Two key Scottish distributors from the industry – 2pure and Hotlines – revealed how the extreme weather had affected trade.
“We have got off quite lightly compared to some businesses,” explained 2pure’s Ranald Johnston. “We are experiencing some delays after orders are with the couriers, but that is more to do with the backlog that the weather has created.”
Hotlines’ Ed Ibbetson told BikeBiz: “Hotlines has only suffered mild disruption in the worst weather. Dispatch of orders suffered only very mild disruption at the peak of the snowfall, with slightly reduced volume on bikes dispatched for a three-day period. This shortfall in dispatch was cleared in a single day following the rapid improvement to weather conditions.”
Snow has not stopped employees getting into work in significant numbers either, as Ibbetson explained: “Even on the days of worst trouble on the roads we still had staff coming from as far away as Peebles. The worst that we suffered was a 30 per cent reduction in staffing levels for one day, otherwise we were lucky that our staff managed to make it in to work. With the snow receding business has returned to normal.”
2pure’s offices also saw minimum disruption, with staff stopped from getting to work on just one day.
‘Arctic conditions’ ahead
Scottish businesses could be set to face further disruption however, with the Met Office issuing severe weather warnings over icy roads, predictions of ‘arctic conditions’ and up to ten inches of snow forecast for some areas of the Grampian and Highlands.
Johnston said: “We have suffered slightly in terms of our warranty side of things as the majority of the shipping for this is done with Royal Mail and for around a week we had no deliveries or pick ups from them.
“As long as we manage people’s expectations of what to expect people are usually very understanding. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t get any worse with the next batch of snow coming!"
Ibbetson added: “At the moment the only remaining area of concern is deliveries and collections to and from dealers within Scotland. Due to the M8 closures and local road closures early last week Parcel Force hubs and depots largely suspended deliveries for this period. These depots are now working through a backlog of parcels meaning potential delays with deliveries to some Scottish accounts. Apart from this minor disruption it has largely been business as usual for Hotlines.
“Really, our thoughts should be with any dealers that were snow-bound in this crucial run up to Christmas, hopefully this really was an unusual weather event and we’ll see an easier start to the New Year for all our dealers.”
2pure is based in Balerno near Edinburgh, and Hotlines is located in South Queensferry, Edinburgh.