Perfect storm: Hurricane Irma challenged grocery pipeline

A new report from the Associated Press says grocery stores in Florida are still working to fully restock from the storm.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Grocery stores up and down the state are still trying to restock shelves a full week after Hurricane Irma.

Many stores delayed reopening after the storm pushed through the state on Sept 10 because they were left without power. Others reopened on backup generators. Many had to throw out most of their perishable food.

Store managers and retail analysts tell the Orlando Sentinel that Irma was the perfect storm to cripple the state's food supply lines. Mark Johnston, a professor who studies retail at Rollins College's graduate school of business, says Irma was about as bad as the state has experienced in terms of damaging infrastructure and clogging roads.

During Irma, Florida's nine largest population centers faced major damage.

Now days later, grocery stores are still working to fully restock.

A Walmart spokesperson told First Coast News the situation in Florida is unique because of the state is a peninsula, so unlike Texas there's one way in and one way out. The spokesperson said during Hurricane Irma all eight Florida distribution centers, along with the majority of Walmart stores, closed, meaning no new products were delivered to stores during that time. 

The spokesperson said there's often a surge of demand after a major storm and they are working around the clock to get Jacksonville stores back to "normal" status.

A Publix spokesperson declined to go on camera but released the following statement:

"Publix always encourages a culture of preparedness and safety for our customers, associates and community. As we monitored the storm track we will continue to work with our warehouse and distribution centers' and supplier partners to ensure our stores have essentials items to serve our customers.

While the affects of this storm caused a high product turnover on store shelves, our supply chain and distribution centers are well prepared to maintain product shipment and delivery to stores; and our store teams are working vigilantly to get items off of delivery trucks and on to the shelves for our customers as fast as possible.

We appreciate our customers and will continue to earn their trust."

Joe Caldwell, corporate communications manager for Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, released the following statement:

"Leading up to the storm, our Florida stores were experiencing extremely high demand for hurricane preparedness essentials. Our store teams are making every effort to restock our stores to pre-Irma levels as our customers try to get back to their normal lives. Trucks are arriving at our North Florida stores daily – our customers can be assured that their stores are being currently stocked and that will continue over the next several days.

In the greater Jacksonville market, we have 100 percent of our stores open. We could not have done this without our incredible, resilient team of associates, some of whom have storm damage and have suffered Irma impacts as well."

© 2017 Associated Press


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment