But there seems no doubt that it remains a vital time of year for the industry.
With Christmas “still the biggest single trading period for our business”, Wallaces Express is running three regional trade shows in Scotland this month, at which customers can meet suppliers and tap into discounts and flexible ordering terms.
“This means that customers can save up to 15% on some deals offered at the trade shows by our suppliers and Wallaces will hold the stock – on behalf of customers – and deliver and invoice it as and when the customer requires,” said MD Brian Calder.
“Everyone is a bit more cautious – no one wants to be left with cash tied up in unsold stock.”
While concerns over cash will leave some operators worried about locking funds into stock that may not ultimately sell, one wine wholesaler cautioned the trade to avoid running short.
Such a scenario might unfold if there’s repeat of the big freeze of Christmas 2010, warned Billy Bell of Wine Importers.
“The old adage that Christmas gets later each year has run it course,” he said. “Yes it’s later because customers don’t want to be left with excess stock come the new year.
“However remember 2009 and 2010 when the snow hit early and kept coming.
“Please start to increase stock in November, just in case, and then adjust it nearer to the big day.”
Meanwhile, new online wholesaler Ooberstock expects more operators to order via the web in the lead up to Christmas.
“We expect our ‘intelligent wholesale’ model to challenge the status quo like never before, enabling licensees to buy products that their customers want through an easy to use, online procurement platform” said founder Arran Heal.
Image – Bell: don’t get caught short at Christmas.