Snow-hit shops begin to restock shelves
Shops in snow-hit areas of Scotland are beginning to restock their shelves with essentials after running short of supplies.
Many stores faced shortages of basic items such as bread and milk earlier this week as the "Beast from the East" hit deliveries.
But Deputy First Minister John Swinney said on Saturday that shops were being "restored to their normal supplies".
He urged members of the public to continue to "exercise patience".
Mr Swinney said: "There's obviously been some pressures on the ability of deliveries to be undertaken and for stores to be properly stocked.
"We are seeing that being overcome already."
His comments came as one of Scotland's biggest milk suppliers, Graham's the Family Dairy, said deliveries had started "flowing" into shops and supermarkets.
Managing director Robert Graham said: "Demand has been unprecedented and despite a couple of tough days, thanks to our dedicated staff, we achieved 90% delivery yesterday and our core range of milk will be appearing in shops and supermarkets from today."
He added: "The safety of our drivers is our number one priority, so we continue to be cautious, but are thrilled to have Graham's vans back on the roads, collecting from our partner farms and delivering to customers."
The Scottish Retail Consortium said the severe weather had had an impact on deliveries to some depots and shops, but "the vast majority of stores" had remained open.
Director David Lonsdale said: "Grocery retailers and their staff have been putting in a major effort to keep shops open and well stocked with food and drink on the shelves.
"Some members firms report much higher sales of items such as bread and milk over the past day or two which is putting pressure on availability, and so deliveries of fresh produce is often being prioritised.
"The situation continues to improve as the weather eases and transport links to distribution centres and to shops become more reliable - albeit some retailers have reported issues with the statutory restrictions in place on the hours haulage drivers can work."
Some local shops introduced rationing this week in order to keep staple foods available to as many people as possible in their communities.
Linda Williams, who runs the Broadway convenience store in Oxgangs, Edinburgh, said: "We got bread and milk this morning, and yesterday, but not the full range or the full amount.
"What we decided from the first delivery we got in was one (item) per customer - just to be fair, to try to make sure everybody got something.
"A lot of people were maybe buying for neighbours and it was a little bit awkward trying to explain why we were doing it.
"But I really had to make a stand because some people were trying to buy four and five jugs of milk at one time, and it's just not fair."
Mrs Williams said she hoped supplies of milk and bread would return to normal by Monday but added that she expected it to take about a week before her shelves were fully restocked.
She explained: "What is going to be problematic is that all the supply chains are out of kilter and things like fresh fruit, fresh meat and fresh vegetables are going to be quite hard to get because everything is done at the very last minute. "