Picture: Richard Walker, Iceland MD
A supermarket boss has warned supply chain problems could cancel Christmas.
Iceland’s Managing Director Richard Walker said:
“The reason for sounding the alarm now is that we’ve already had one Christmas cancelled at the last minute and I’d hate this one to be problematic as well.”
Mr Walker said the supermarket’s shops were suffering daily shortages of food and drink.
The problem lies with a chronic shortage of lorry drivers.
Iceland is currently working with 100 fewer GHV delivery vehicles.
He said: “This is impacting the food supply chain on a daily basis.
“We’ve had deliveries cancelled for the first time since the pandemic began, about 30-40 deliveries a day.
“Things like bread, fast-moving lines, are being cancelled in about 100 stores a day.
“Soft drinks are 50 per cent less in terms of volume, so it is having an effect at shelf.”
Co-op boss Steve Murrells has also warned “the shortages are at the worse level than at any time I have seen”.
Mr Walker said his stores were selling out of bread and “struggling to replenish as quickly as we need”.
If the problems continue Christmas could be affected.
He said: “Of course we’ve got Christmas round the corner in retail. We start to stock build really from September onwards for what is a hugely important time of year.
“We’ve got a lot of goods to transport between now and Christmas and a strong supply chain is vital for everyone.
“This problem is caused by the Government’s failure to appreciate the importance of HGV drivers and the work they do for us.”
“These HGV drivers have kept the show on the road for 18 months during the pandemic and it is criminal that we are not viewing them as skilled workers.”