Panther 3

Disruption in retailer Habitat’s home deliveries has put delivery firm Panther Warehousing in the firing line of its customers.

Teething issues with new warehousing software after it had to move site have caused what Habitat described as “minor disruptions” to its customers, leading to a number of poor reports of Panther on reviews site TrustPilot about failed deliveries and misleading ETA information.

One dissatisfied customer, Dave Young, told MT: "It took four failed attempts and eight fruitless hours waiting at home before I got my furniture.

"Habitat eventually sorted out my problem, but many other unhappy customers are still awaiting goods they’ve paid for. Panther’s staff are on the frontline taking flak and the brand risks being dragged down by their client."

Panther MD Colin McCarthy said the two-man delivery firm was doing all it could to support its customer “in this difficult period”.

“It’s a difficult situation,” he told MT. “During the last four months it has been transferring to a new warehouse and introducing a new computer system.

"We’ve been supporting Habitat through its changes and challenges - we’ve been 100% supportive.”

McCarthy said he could not confirm the technological fault lay with Habitat, but added: “All I know is that our computer system has not had any downtime for the last four years.

“We are working hard in this difficult period for Habitat, supporting it and working with it to clear the problems that it may - or may not - have.”

Habitat is part of the Home Retail Group, which was bought by Sainsbury’s last September.

Habitat said its separation from Homebase, which was sold to Australian Bunnings in February 2016, had caused it to have to move to a new warehouse.

A spokesman for Habitat told MT: “Following the sale of Homebase to Bunnings, as part of an IT separation project between brands it has been necessary to migrate Habitat onto its own warehouse management system.

“As part of this separation Habitat has also been required to move warehouse and appoint a new two-man home delivery partner in Panther.

“The large-scale warehouse transition and integration of Panther has led to a minor amount of disruption and delay in terms of deliveries to customers but has been publicised on our website to make customers aware before purchase.

“We are working together with our warehouse partners, Panther and in-store teams to restore service levels to normal expectations.”