The national shortage of HGV drivers caused by the pandemic and Brexit, may lead to a festive season of inflated prices and empty shelves. Unless measures are taken to ease the worker deficit, we can expect this to affect everything from food, clothing, toys – and even Christmas trees.
In this week’s blog, we’re exploring the issues ahead for the United Kingdom, the factors generating the problems and how retailers are acting to avert the impending crisis.
After months of warnings, the consequences of the driver shortage are becoming apparent to British consumers. Supply issues have forced McDonald’s to remove their popular milkshakes from the menu – whilst Nando’s have closed 45 restaurants due to a scarcity of their signature peri peri chicken dish.
The driver shortage isn’t the only factor to blame; national chicken production has already been cut back by 10%, with 16% of industry jobs currently unfilled. As a result of this, Christmas turkey production will be slashed by a fifth, industry experts claim. As the holiday shopping season approaches, supermarkets are warning that the shortages are expected to increase.
Our festive dinner isn’t the only tradition set to suffer this year, but it’s safe to assume that we can also expect fewer presents beneath our Christmas trees. Supply chain challenges will likely increase the price of toys this December – and that’s if they’re even in stock.
The problem starts at the ports in manufacturing countries such as China, where there is a lack of empty shipping containers. Companies must wait at least three weeks to get their hands on a container – this has brought costs up by 700% since last year.
A global shortage of computer chips could also impact the supply of some of the most popular Christmas toys for children. Electronic items, like interactive pets and video game consoles are likely to have some supply issues.
Adapting in crisis
With so many critical components, global supply chains are incredibly fragile – a fact exposed by the disruption of the past 18 months. Retailers have responded with greater vertical collaboration between manufacturers, their customers and suppliers. This means that businesses are deciphering new ways to handle and distribute products more efficiently as warehouses and driver availability come under pressure.
Alongside these infrastructural alterations, many retailers are acting independently to entice more truckers into the industry. Big brands like Tesco, Aldi, M&S, John Lewis, Poundland and Co-Op are offering high pay and bonuses for drivers. In the meantime, grocers have urged customers not to panic buy in response to reports of emptying shelves, saying they were continuing to receive regular deliveries.
Although the country is recovering well from the multiple lockdowns, the driver shortage remains a concern for many in retail and hospitality. Christmas is always a busy time for both sectors, but the lack of logistics personnel is set to greatly amplify the usual concerns of supply and demand.
At Targetfollow, we aim to work closely with our tenants and support them through the challenges of the winter months. For more information on our assets, visit The Pantiles, PE1 and Salle Moor Hall Farm.