The recent snow caused problems for bakers up and down the country, as shops were forced to close. Yet some say they benefited from extra trade.

Croydon-based Coughlans Bakeries took a hit of between £25-£30,000 when its 22 shops were forced to stay closed for the day; shop staff simply couldn’t get to work as public transport shut down. MD Sean Coughlan called it a "horrendous week". "A lot of our bakers could walk to work, so we started to make products, but by 8am we realised that no one else could make it in, so the food just had to be binned," said Coughlan. "We couldn’t get our lorries out and only managed to make one wholesale delivery to a very local customer," he added.

Franchise sandwich bar retailer O’Briens was also hit financially when its Meadowhall shop was forced to close for two days last week, as Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield was shut, due to the weather. "We were badly affected as we didn’t take any money for those days," said Jil Bingham.

Hobbs House Bakery, based in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, was one business that saw more trade than usual. Sales director Clive Wells said Hobbs had seen "perhaps even a little more trade than usual" in its shops, as people were panic-buying. And its wholesale and mail order business experienced calls from businesses who had been let down by other suppliers and were in need of more bread.

"Some of the drivers came back with trays of bread which they hadn’t been able to deliver," said Wells. "But one of our drivers arrived at a village shop full of people and they gave him a round of applause."

Pullins Bakers’ three shops in North Somerset also managed to benefit from the bad weather. Director Sue Pullin reported that they were busier than normal, as locals decided to shop locally rather than drive to supermarkets. "Our drivers managed to deliver 99% of the orders, but we’ve been having more problems with people delivering ingredients to us."