// Flower retailers across the UK voice concerns about supplies from overseas ahead of Mother’s Day
// Wine retailers are “confident” they can meet demand and keep enough bottles on shelves after a surge in demand
// The concerns come as the coronavirus crisis continues to have an effect on the retail sector
Mother’s Day celebrations this Sunday may be thrown into jeopardy as independent flower retailers across the UK voice concerns about supplies from overseas.
Consumers have also rushed to stockpile wine but retailers said they are “confident” they can meet demand and keep enough bottles on shelves.
It comes as flower markets and auctions in The Netherlands, which supplies the majority of the UK’s flowers, have been partly shut down this week due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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British flower sellers said they have already seen the effects of recent government restrictions on customer numbers and sales.
Shereen Green, owner of Greens of Highgate in north London, said it was a “scary time” for her business.
“Flower sales have dropped off completely – no-one’s buying flowers,” she told the PA news agency.
“Our waste last week was huge.”
Green said her shop was also a greengrocer, which was helping them stay afloat despite the issues with flower distribution.
“Christmas gets us through and then we’re quiet and then Mother’s Day gets us through – if we don’t get the sales, which is looking unlikely… We haven’t sold any flowers now for a week. It’s definitely a scary time,” she said.
Suzy Liu, an independent florist from Glasgow, said she and others in the florist community were taking things “day by day”.
“At the moment, things are still coming through fine, we have got flowers for the Mother’s Day weekend, but once the borders shut it will be a whole different story,” she told PA.
“If we can’t get flowers, we won’t be able to sell – we’re taking it day by day really.
“We’re still getting orders through the phone and online, but there’s less walking through the door.
“We’re doing contactless deliveries, ringing the doorbell and stepping away.”
Meanwhile, alcohol retailer Majestic Wine said it was “confident wine shelves will stay stacked” ahead of Mother’s Day, despite large increases in demand and concerns over European supply chains.
The chain has 200 warehouses in the UK that have been used to store extra bottles that it hopes will last out the summer.
Majestic Wine reported an “unprecedented” weekend which saw sales of wines from key regions, such as Italy and France, shoot up by 44 per cent and 68 per cent respectively – as well as a peak of 124 per cent for English wine.
Both Italy and France have since entered a government-mandated lockdown period as they attempt to stem their respective growing numbers of coronavirus diagnoses.
In the meantime, Majestic Wine said it would ramp up its free delivery service which had seen a tripling of demand in the space of a week.
It has also taken the decision to suspend in-store tasting events across its stores for the time being, as a safety measure.
“Putting the safety of everyone connected with Majestic first and foremost is our number one priority,” Majestic Wine chief executive John Colley said.
“We are closely following the advice from the government, NHS and Public Health England to ensure we are putting the correct measures in place across the country.
“Clearly customers are making sure their wine racks don’t go overlooked, with the prospect of more time at home increasingly likely.
“Rest assured, however, we have worked closely with our fantastic supply base, and have brought forward our summer inventory across the country.
“We are confident that we will have the capacity to meet the increase in demand.”
with PA Wires