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A run on wellies catches John Lewis on the hop

Department store John Lewis said it “takes very seriously” a failure to anticipate a wave of “panic buying” of wellingtons which resulted in not a single pair of the all-weather footwear being available in any of its three Scottish stores.

A spokeswoman for the employee-owned store, which has branches in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, said that “every effort was being made to resupply these item” though she was unable to say whether wellingtons would be in stock in time for Christmas

While she admitted that the heaviest November snowfall since the 1960s had tested John Lewis’s stock-keeping processes and distribution systems, she said: “We take any failure to stock in-demand items very seriously at all times.

“We have pretty robust systems in all weathers, and I know that there will be new supplies on their way.”

John Lewis was just one of the stores reported last week to have run out of wellingtons, items which through brands such as the Scottish-based Hunter, have become a year-round branded fashion item.

A spokeswoman for Hunter played down reports that it was failing to meet demand caused by the unexpected winter conditions: “We still have plenty of styles available through our many stockists throughout the UK as well as through our own website.

Orders confirmed through our website will continue to be dispatched up to Wednesday, December 22, to arrive for Christmas wherever possible.”

John Lewis figures released last week showed sales flatlining. The department store group said sales last week were “level” with the same period last year compared with an 8.8% rise the previous week. Internet sales were up 62% on last year.

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