Post office strikes threaten cashflow
Published:  02 November, 2007

Mail-order wine merchants are counting the cost of the postal strike, which has caused widespread disruption to their orders and cashflow.

Companies which use regular mailings to stimulate trade have been hamstrung by the wildcat industrial action , forcing many to use other methods of communicating

to minimise disruption.

If the dispute continues it could wreak havoc in the all-important Christmas sales period and potentially jeopardise the livelihoods of some merchants.

Tanners achieves about 30 per cent of its trade through monthly mail-outs and buyer Robert Boutflower said this area of the business had seen "considerable" disruption.

"Stuff will eventually get through, but it's messed up your next mailing," he

said. "Not that we're trying to make our customers look for our mailings all the time, but they

need to be prodded regularly."

Laithwaites was forced to look at alternatives to Royal Mail to make sure mailings got through

on time. A spokeswoman said: "Mailings are getting through, but with long delays. As a result we have increased

e-mail activity and accelerated the revamp of our website."

"It's massively inconvenienced us," said Theo Sloot, of the Oxford Wine ­Company. "I can't say we have lost business, but it is creating more work for us." The strike coincided with a mail-out of tickets for the company's biggest event of the year, the Oxford Wine Show.

"I just hope this dispute will be resolved by the time we send our next magazine out, because it has all our Christmas offers in and is a massive marketing tool for us," Sloot said.

Jason Yapp, of Yapp Brothers in Wiltshire, said the strike "did impact on one of our mailing lists, and we get a considerable amount of business by people mailing orders to us so it slowed things up considerably".

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