Flower supply concerns ahead of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day celebrations this coming Sunday may be in danger as independent flower sellers across the UK voice concerns about supplies from abroad.

Members of the public have also rushed to stockpile wine but sellers said they are “confident” that they can keep enough bottles on shelves.

Flower markets and auctions in the Netherlands, which supply the majority of the UK’s flowers, have been partly shut down this week due to coronavirus.

Local 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.”

Ms Green, 34, said the shop, which she owns with her husband Ricky, was also a greengrocer, which was helping them stay afloat despite the issues with flower distribution.

“If we solely relied on flowers, we’d already be bankrupt,” she said.

“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.”

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 said.

“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.”

The majority of Ms Liu’s flowers come from Blochairn market in Glasgow, which sells to multiple small florists around the city.

She said: “Suppliers are still maintaining that supplies are fine but there are a lot of unknowns. We’ll probably have to shut temporarily and then see how it goes, see how long that would take. It’s all unknown.

Countries with confirmed cases of coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

“It should be a busy week being Mother’s Day – we can only do what we can. Hopefully we’ll come through the other side and it’ll all be good.”

Wine retailer Majestic Wine said it is “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.

“We’re not going to run out of wine,” said Jack Merrylees, a spokesman for Majestic Wine.

“Our position is that we are confident we will have bottles on shelves to get us through the summer and for the foreseeable.”

Majestic Wine reported an “unprecedented” weekend which saw sales of wines from key regions, such as Italy and France, shoot up by 44% and 68% respectively – as well as a peak of 124% for English wine.

“Your wine rack is a good place to try new things when you’re not physically able to go out and do it,” added Mr Merrylees.

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