Snow chaos costs retail billions

Retail is feeling the chill as Arctic weather threatens to bring the country to a standstill this week.

Several big December releases – including World of Warcraft: Cataclysm – failed to hit stores in time for launch in recent weeks as icy weather disrupted
key deliveries.

Now games outlets are drawing up emergency plans to cope with more December snow, which could force store closures, delay deliveries and limit footfall.

Online retailers are telling customers their parcels may not reach them in time for December 25th. MCV understands key games retailers will stop taking Christmas mail orders tomorrow if snow persists.

Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda have already stopped taking orders for non-food items in Scotland.

Meanwhile, High Street retailers are sending their own vans to pick up stock from overflowing distribution hubs, which are struggling to clear the backlog.

Delivery companies including Parcelforce and DPD have issued warnings to businesses of delays of up to seven days as the weather worsens. The trouble at the delivery hubs has already wreaked havok on new titles.

The snow has hit at the worse time for games retail, with the trade hoping for a Q4 turnaround following nine months of slow sales.

Retail needs to sell 20 million games and generate 313m in revenue in order to match last year’s software sales figure.

Retail analysts say the big freeze has cost the High Street billions.

Scotland is badly affected in terms of logistics,” said Verdict director Neil Saunders. Internet orders will drop off a cliff. I believe a lot of people will just move their spend onto the High Street, but the big concern is what will happen if things get bad again. Retail will be praying the weather does not disrupt things further.”

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