Latest knotty problem in supply chain crisis: Britain is running out of ties

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Close up photo of a neck tie - Getty Contributor/Getty Images Contributor
Close up photo of a neck tie - Getty Contributor/Getty Images Contributor

Britain is facing a tie shortage as shops admit that a return to offices and an increase in weddings has left them struggling for stock.

Demand for ties dropped sharply during the pandemic, meaning many stores let their stocks dwindle.

But as offices reopen and more events start to take place, many stores are finding themselves unable to meet people’s formalwear needs.

The situation was first raised by BBC Radio Five Live host Nicky Campbell, with others on Twitter reporting the same problem.

Campbell told listeners he tried to buy a tie at John Lewis's Oxford Street branch, but was shocked to find none in stock.

He tweeted: “Went to buy a tie in John Lewis. Sorry. We’re out of ties. We have no ties. Why? Supply problems. No supplies. No ties. Explanation?”

Replying on Twitter, one person said: “I went to buy a tie earlier this summer for Ascot and all the department stores only had literally a few to choose from.

“Assume it’s also due to a lack of weddings/funerals to attend and also business culture shifting/home working.”

The issue was echoed by dozens more on social media, with issues also said to be affecting Marks & Spencer, Next and H&M.

A spokesman for John Lewis said they were working to get more stock.

They said: “We’ve seen a huge spike in sales recently as weddings restart and some people head back to the office, which has affected stock levels.

“Ssales were so low in the heat of the pandemic. We’re looking to get more stock in as soon as possible.”

The problem is being exacerbated by a shortage of HGV drivers which is affecting the whole industry.

This week, the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) became the latest business to highlight the impact of supply chain problems and worker shortages being experienced across the economy as it revealed half-year results.

It said that pressures would persist as it acknowledged “significant uncertainty” ahead of the Christmas period.

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