Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Drinks trade warned to plan ahead for harsh winter

Published:  07 October, 2010

The drinks trade is being urged to plan ahead for wintry weather, as long range forecasts show more 'disruptive snow' is to come this year.

Last year, many businesses suffered when deliveries failed to arrive, power supplies were cut off and staff couldn't make it into work during the coldest winter for three decades.

Long-range weather forecasting service Positive Weather Solutions said this week said that the winter of 2010/11 was likely to see similarly icy temperatures to last year.

According to a YouGov poll, 58% of senior decision-makers at small businesses said their companies suffered as a result of the snow last winter, despite 78% believing their firms were sufficiently prepared.

And nationally, three quarters (74%) of employees were affected by the snow, with more than a quarter (26%) failing to get in to work at all. One fifth of those surveyed found key suppliers and contacts were unavailable and a quarter had to postpone or cancel meetings.

A spokesman for the Forum of Private Business said: "I think it's fair to say that last winter's extreme weather conditions caught out many small business owners.

"A lot of small firms struggled to continue trading as employees failed to make it into work, deliveries were cancelled and freezing temperatures caused heating equipment to fail, leaving their premises unusable.

"We estimated that last winter's snowfalls were costing smaller businesses across the UK around £230 million each day at one point. Obviously, in the current climate, small firms can ill afford a similar expenditure this year so we're urging business owners to think about their contingency plans now to ensure they aren't put out of action by another icy winter."

The Forum is also advising smaller firms to consider investing in expert support services to ensure they can continue trading when their premises are hit by extreme weather conditions.