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Around one in seven retailers think they do not have a resilient supply chain, which is jeopardising their ability to deliver products to customers efficiently.

The research, conducted by Wincanton, involved polling 250 senior leaders of major retail and e-commerce businesses across the UK.

It found 99% of respondents believed improving the resilience of their supply chain was “essential” to growth.

However, 15% said theirs was currently not robust enough to deal effectively with factors ranging from Covid-19, political and economic upheaval and changing labour patterns.

Mid-market retailers – those whose annualised turnover is between £100m to £500m – said they were enthusiastic about the prospect of collaborating to address supply chain challenges, with 89% believing these partnerships would make their operations more resilient.

James Wroath, Wincanton chief executive, said its survey came at a uniquely challenging time for domestic and international supply chains: “As we demonstrate through our research, concerns about these impacts are felt acutely in the mid-market segment of the retail sector,” he said. “These are businesses that do not have the benefits of the vast capital expenditure that their larger competitors have poured into supply chains to achieve greater resilience.

“For these businesses, it is increasingly clear that collaboration to pool resources and alleviate risk is the right way to go.

“We are seeing this in our own operations where our mid-market customers are seeking a partner to outsource significant parts of, if not all, their supply chain requirements to support their growth ambitions,” Wroath added.