Retailers across the UK leapt into action to secure flower supplies after major flower distributor Flowerfête apparently ceased trading in the midst of the crucial spring gifting season.

None of the retailers Convenience Store spoke to received their flower orders over the key Valentine's period. The company could not be reached by phone and its website is defunct.

Nim Shingadia of Londis Southwater, West Sussex, was alerted to the situation by another retailer. "It was a total nightmare, but independent retailers think on their feet," she told Convenience Store.

"I contacted our fresh produce supplier and they picked up some flowers from the market when they bought their fruit and veg."

Fellow Londis retailer Arjan Mehr, who owns a store in Bracknell, Berkshire, was also quick to act and convinced his neighbouring Budgens store to help him out. "The Budgens ordered us flowers on Friday, February 11 and by the 14th they were in-store," said Arjan. "We acted on our initiative we couldn't expect anyone else to find a solution that quickly."

Norman Fisher, co-owner of Spar Griffithstown in Pontypool, Gwent, also refused to miss out on Valentine's Day sales. "Capper emailed us about Flowerfête and as soon as we realised we wouldn't have flowers for Valentine's Day, we headed to the local market to pick some up."

However, not everyone could respond in time. "Blakemore phoned to let us know, but it was too late for Valentine's Day," said Wolverhampton Spar retailer Malcolm Crump. "We lost £400- worth of sales it was a blow."

Roy Patel, whose Londis store in Ottershaw, Surrey, was supplied by Flowerfête subsidiary Fresh Bouquets, shared his frustrations. "The supplier never showed up. We sell about £300-worth of flowers a week, and on Valentine's Day we'd have sold double."

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