Wine businesses have been left without stock to sell at the busiest time of the year as a result of the collapse of a warehouse roof at London City Bond (LCB) before Christmas.
Photo credit: A. Boyd from Just Good Wine
One distributor, Source Wines, estimates that it lost up to 80% of its stock in the collapse at LCB’s facility in Purfleet, Essex, on 2 December, which is believed to have been caused by heavy snowfall.
‘It meant that we had virtually no stock to sell during the busiest month of the year,’ Nick Wolridge, national account manager for Source Wines, told Decanter.com.
‘It has massive implications. We were not able to supply our customers – independent wine merchants and restaurants – at their busiest time of the year.’
The collapse in the 100,000-case warehouse has also left Source short of the cash flow necessary to rebuild stocks as supplies come in this month from Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.
‘The first two months of the year are the quietest and don’t have the sales throughput,’ said Wolridge. ‘We’re obviously having to discuss things with our suppliers and the producers we work with.’
He added that the company was in discussions with LCB and insurers about possible recompense for destroyed stock and lost profits.
Alf Allington, managing director of LCB, said the company was ‘working hard’ with its insurers to allow customers to finalise and submit claims for lost stock.
‘To date, we have recovered more than 65% of the stock held within the warehouse, and efforts are continuing to salvage as much stock as possible,’ he added.
‘We are sorry for the inconvenience caused at a crucial time of the trading year, but our swift reaction in providing alternative bonded facilities for our customers was well-received and we have been encouraged by the general feedback from customers.’
Written by Richard Woodard