One in three already stocking up for Christmas amid ‘supply crisis’

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There are fears Christmas dinners could be ‘cancelled’ due to the shortage  (PA Wire)
There are fears Christmas dinners could be ‘cancelled’ due to the shortage (PA Wire)

One in three shoppers are already stocking up on groceries for Christmas.

Hundreds of thousands of families have booked in their delivery slots for the festive season amid fears of empty supermarket shelves.

Boris Johnson has appointed former Tesco chief executive Sir Dave Lewis as a supply chain adviser to fix both the immediate crisis facing a number of British industries and prevent future chaos.

A survey of 1,000 consumers by The Grocer revealed that two thirds of shoppers were either worried or “very worried” by potential shortages of food and drink.

Supermarkets have been ramping up orders turkey, trimmings and other essentials to cope with a pre-Christmas rush, according to the magazine.

Former Tesco boss Sir Dave Lewis (PA)
Former Tesco boss Sir Dave Lewis (PA)

Retailers warned of gaps in the global supply chain and a lack of HGV drivers.

Over the past month, one in ten businesses have put up prices due to rising inflation which is yet to peak, according to economists.

Mike Watkins, of analysts NielsenIQ, told The Grocer: “Shoppers tend to leave most of their Christmas grocery shopping later in November, but clearly this year we’re seeing late-November demand brought forward into October because of the concerns consumers have read and heard about, turkeys being a great example.”

Some experts claimed shoppers would start noticing shortages within days as a result of the crisis in carbon dioxide supply (PA) (PA Wire)
Some experts claimed shoppers would start noticing shortages within days as a result of the crisis in carbon dioxide supply (PA) (PA Wire)

Waitrose saw 22,000 festive slots booked by lunchtime on the first day of releasing their dates last week, while 112,000 had been booked by the end of the week.

Ocado, which is releasing slots more slowly, has sent out a “sorry if you haven’t been able to a Christmas slot in time” reply on its FAQ page.

Tesco is not releasing slots to customers on its Delivery Saver scheme until November 15 and for others on the 23 - the same dates as last year.

Sir Dave, who stepped down from Tesco in September last year after turning around its fortunes following its major accounting scandal, will work with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Stephen Barclay, as it was revealed around one in six adults in Britain have been unable to buy essential food items in the last fortnight.

Mr Johnson said: “There are currently global supply issues which we are working with industry to mitigate and Dave brings a wealth of experience which will help us continue to protect our businesses and supply chains.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (PA Wire)

No 10 said Sir Dave would work on both immediate improvements and any necessary long-term changes to UK supply chains for goods, and will work with Government officials to quickly resolve acute, short-term issues.

Sir Dave, who will be based in the Cabinet Office and has been appointed until the end of the year, will also co-chair a new supply chain advisory group and the new industry taskforce.

He starts in the role on Monday.

Earlier, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News “we’re right at the tail end” of the situation with fuel supply pressures.

He said in “most parts of the country” problems have ended, and that London and the South East are the only two areas “where we’re seeing any continued problems”.

He added that around 3,500 people have applied for provisional HGV licences in the past week.

Meanwhile, footballer Marcus Rashford said some of the food banks he works with have been experiencing shortages.

He told BBC Breakfast: “They’re struggling to do what they love doing because there’s a shortage of food and of course it’s something that we’re going to have to find an answer to, and quickly as well, because you know people are out there and they need the meals and especially going into winter.”

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