As the poor weather has played havoc with transport and schools, ShelfLife reports that local retailers in many areas have experienced a boom.
As consumers have been trapped in their areas by snow and ice or reluctant to travel too far, they have turned back to their local retailers for food, drink and other goods. Suppliers of bread and milk have found an upsurge in orders from smaller retailers, particularly those based on housing estates that have suffered from snow-falls. Newspaper sales from these retailers have also increased as people taking "snow-days" from work have bought locally rather than near therir place of employment, with sell-outs being reported even after additional copy box-outs by suppliers.
Sales of fire logs, briquettes and fire lighters are very strong, with supplies running low at some outlets as consumers stock up and footfall at neighbourhood stores has increased.
A vox pop among consumers confirms that dwellers in suburban areas are spending more locally and are hugely appreciative of the service that local retailers offer. Anecdotal evdience suggests that missing the weekly family shop at the large format multiple has been replaced by more freuent forays to the nearest small retailer. Speaking to ShelfLife, one Stepaside, Co. Dublin consumer commented: "We simply couldn’t get the car out, and when we tried shopping in our local store we were surprised not only at what was available, but that the prices were reasonable too."
Trevor Kearns, manager of The Market, situated in a housing estate named Belarmine, in Stepaside, South County Dublin, said that the past week has been great for business.
"We saw a 30% increase in sales last week. There was a spike in bakery, dairy and the butcher. Magazines and newspapers saw a huge increase in sales also and we actually ran out of both. Sales of coffee and hot chocolate at our in-store cafe saw a huge surge too."
Kearns also remarked that the recent cold spell has brought a great sense of community to the locality. "There was definitely a different buzz around the place. Everyone was helping each other to push their cars up the hills and many of our customers said to us that they really appreciated us being open," he said.
The local pharmacy and doctor’s surgery also saw an increase in business as people who couldn’t get to their usual chemist came in looking for prescriptions while the doctor was dealing with minor injuries from people falling on the ice.
Although many of the locals were staying at home from work, Kearns said that every one of his staff turned up to work everyday during the bad weather with one employee even traveling from Kildare.
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