Half of UK companies cite the weather in the top three factors external to their business that drive consumer demand, but a third do not use meteorological data in their supply chains.
In a report the Met Office said the UK’s “changeable weather” could have a “significant impact” on retail performance and “impact costs and efficiencies in the supply chain”.
A survey of people working in supply chain functions primarily at food retailers and suppliers found 32 per cent do not use any weather data, while 19 per cent relied on free services. Of the 16 per cent who did use paid-for services, 57 per cent had better sales forecast accuracy, 51 per cent had better on-shelf availability and 43 per cent had reduced waste. Some 29 per cent of respondents did not answer the question.
The survey found the top uses for weather data among retailers were short-term sales forecasts, planning stock availability, product deliveries from depot to store and promotional planning.
Barbara Napiorkowska-Dickson, retail business manager at the Met Office, said: “The UK’s changeable weather means that it can have a significant impact on retail performance and retailers’ abilities to meet customer demands – for example ensuring they stock the right products for both good and adverse weather.
“If they miscalculate this, retailers risk losing millions through incorrect stock levels and disappointed customers. It can also impact the costs and efficiencies of the whole supply chain.”
The survey, which included the views of 241 senior managers across more than 80 firms, found two-thirds thought forecasting consumer demand was becoming harder.