Shoppers go off their trolleys as supermarket sweep empties shelves ahead of icy blast

Fiadh Conway (left) and her sister Maisie stand before empty bread shelves in Tesco Airside in Kinsealy

Ian Begley and Fiona Dillon

For the second day in the lead-up to Storm Emma, shoppers have left supermarket shelves empty of bread.

Just as the first wave of heavy snow began to fall, shoppers outside Tesco, at Airside, in Swords, ran to their cars with trolleys overflowing with essential food supplies.

Vanessa Storey, from Swords, told the Herald she bought whatever few items were left.

"It's really empty in there, there's not much left at all. I went in for bread but there's none and it's very disappointing," she said.

"People are just scared they will run out and are starting to panic.

"I bought what I could and will be back tomorrow.

"I just hope I have enough to get me through all of this.

"My husband works for the county council and he's heard it's going to get very bad, so I want to make sure I'm fully prepared for a code red."

Stuart Grant, from Malahide, said his biggest concern is water.

"I've tried about three supermarkets around my locality, but they have hardly anything left," he said.

"My family goes through a lot of bread and milk but they're clean out - I give up.

"I suppose at times like these the most important thing is water, so I'm buying loads in case my pipes freeze."

Some were far less concerned than others.

Hazel Murphy, from Holywell, Swords, said she didn't stock up at all.

"There is a lot of hype with this storm," she said.

"I have a load of stuff in my freezer, and I'm sure it will last me throughout the cold spell.

"However, I was surprised that you can't buy bread or milk anywhere - all you have to do is look inside any of the supermarkets to see how much they're struggling to keep up with the demand."

Tesco Ireland said three times the standard level of bread deliveries were distributed yesterday.

"We've seen high levels of demand across our stores nationwide today, and our suppliers, distribution and store teams continue to work hard to ensure that stock reaches our stores," said corporate affairs director Christine Heffernan.


Meanwhile, there's no business like snow business for outdoor retailers, as customers stock up on sleighs, shoe spikes and even gas stoves.

At Banba Toymaster, on Mary Street, in Dublin city centre, manager Maurice Doyle told how €18 "winter lightning" sleighs were flying out the door.

He originally had six in stock, which were left over from the 2010 heavy snowfall, and they were all sold by last night.

He went to the warehouse to get 60 more and some 18 were already sold within the first two hours of going on sale yesterday. He said people are preparing to enjoy the snow because "it doesn't happen that often."

Outdoor shops are also reaping the benefits of the cold snap, as many high street stores are out of winter stock like hats and gloves.

"People are looking for hats, scarves gloves and heavy jackets," said Niall Kenny, manager of the Outdoor Adventure Store in Upper Liffey Street.