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Supermarkets' ingenious ways to fight snow.. and oversights; SHOP TALK.

Byline: ruki sayid

WITH the big frr-eeze causing chaos on the high street and the white-out expected to last beyond Christmas, supermarkets have launched Operation Snowchain to help shoppers cope in the weather.

Tesco is selling turkey crowns, party food, smoked salmon and prawns for the first time in its petrol forecourt shops, along with tins of biscuits, Yule logs and nuts.

And its smaller Express shops will be piled high with stocking fillers, books, teddies, CDs and DVDs for those families unable to reach Extra stores by road.

It has also increased staples orders, including milk, bread, soup and tinned food. And Tesco has called in extra grit and salt, stockpiling 3,000 tonnes - 50% more than last year.

It has doubled salt deliveries to stores for home use - with 67 tonnes already sold.

Spokesman Trevor Datsun said: "A lot of people are going to be hit by the snow and travelling far will be very difficult. "To make things easier, we are putting Christmas goods in to Express stores so people can do their Christmas shopping despite the snow."

Good Samaritans from an Edinburgh Metro store even sent out a search party when a regular shopper who is disabled hadn't been seen for several days.

Store manager Russell Houston and two members of staff discovered the street where the shopper lives was carpeted in several inches of snow, with residents house bound. A Tesco spokeswoman said: "They just got stuck in with spades and cleared a path to help all of the residents get out and about again."

And to make sure that staff can get into work, the supermarket has hired a fleet of 4x4 jeeps for those in the snowiest areas to call on for lifts.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury's has sent winter packs to 400 stores so staff can shift snow using shovels and wheelbarrows, with extra workers called in to help out at the checkouts.

It has ordered more supplies of bread, milk and fresh food and has drafted in snowploughs to keep car parks clear.

Morrisons has shipped in extra supplies of long-life milk, bread, soup, coal and sledges and the Co-op says it has a mountain of grit and salt as well as snow ploughs on stand by.

And Asda has called on an army of farmers and their tractors to help clear the worst hit car parks in rural areas and is helping customers in stores with a 2,000-strong team of Go Getters. These are dedicated staff who are racing around the aisles to fetch any items that have been forgotten by customers.

They will have walked 42,758.4 miles - or the equivalent of 1,632 marathons - when school pounds the week-l o n g scheme ends on Christmas Eve.

With foil, stuffing and brandy butter among the most forgotten products when families reach the checkout, the Go Getters can expect to have trudged from Lands End to John O'Groats 72 times in seven days.

Asda spokeswoman Helen Milford said: "The Christmas shop can be the most exciting and stressful of the whole year. But our Go Getters are limbered up and ready for action."

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 22, 2010
Words:531
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