Despite the big freeze, which has brought much of the UK to a halt, impacting on 26 Dobbies garden centres throughout eastern Scotland and the north east of England, the garden centre chain has recorded record sales of winter goods.
Barnes said: "I’d like to praise the valiant efforts of all our staff and managers who have battled through the conditions – trudging through snow, and sitting in long traffic queues – to ensure we keep our stores open for customers.
"We’ve had hero stories coming through regularly from our operations teams – one restaurant manager left home at 4.30am and walked most of the way to work, taking him over four hours, and when the Forth Road Bridge closed a manager travelled a 50 mile detour to open our Dunfermline store."
He added: "Like all retail businesses, we’ve obviously been affected not by the onset of the big freeze this year, but by the intensity with which it has hit so early.
"However, we’ve witnessed a record week for winter products and our priority at this time is to ensure availability for customers."
The group have sold 3,000 sledges, 2,500 snow shovels, 2,600 ice breakers and sales of birdcare products are up 68.5 per cent on last year.
Barnes added: "A delivery of 150 snow shovels to our Ponteland Garden World sold out within 45 minutes, and we will have stock replenishment of our most popular items reaching stores by the weekend."