Shops keep stocks up as firelighters and whiskey sales surge
SHOPS and supermarkets remain well-stocked with food -- with some products proving more popular than ever due to the sub-zero temperatures.
And householders are keeping the cold at bay by drinking hot whiskey and using the internet to shop.
Tesco said that sales of whiskey had shot up by 10pc in the first three days of this week, even though normally consumers hold off on alcohol purchases in January as they first finish anything left over from Christmas.
The retail giant also said they had sold 74 extra tonnes of salt, a 90pc increase on normal sales; while firelighters were up 150pc, and householders were also purchasing more cat litter, presumably to grit driveways.
Suppliers in the food industry said there had not been any major problems with getting supplies out to stores nationwide.
Although deliveries were slightly slower because of longer travel times on the icy roads, the delays weren't amounting to more than a couple of hours in the majority of cases, said Ibec's director of food and drink industry Ireland Paul Kelly.
"It is challenging logistically, and it is involving longer working days because every delivery takes a bit longer than normal, but everything is getting through," he said.
Kellogg's said that despite reports of difficulties in transporting stocks of cornflakes and other cereals from their depot in snowbound Manchester, in fact all deliveries had been getting through, including a major shipment yesterday.
Marks & Spencer also said they were not experiencing problems bringing supplies into Ireland from Britain.
Thermal underwear, cardigans, gloves, hats and scarves were all flying off the shelves, a spokesperson said.
There was also a 25pc surge in internet grocery shopping this week with people spending 10pc to 15pc more than usual on each visit, a Tesco spokesperson said.
"Home deliveries have definitely gone through the roof, so it does appear a lot of people don't want to venture outside their door," he said.
Meanwhile demand for coal and peat briquettes was up significantly, between 15pc and 20pc over the last two weeks, while there was also exceptional demand for convenience products such as firelogs, according to Bord na Mona.
Burst pipes and malfunctioning heating in some areas had caused exceptional spikes in demand as householders reverted to solid fuel to keep warm.