shutterstock_1227897067 (1)

The driver shortage is continuing to impact on retailers with flat pack giant Ikea reporting difficulties delivering around 10% of its stock and Accolade, the UK’s largest wine firm warning that Christmas stocks of wine are under threat.

Ikea has announced delivery problems affecting around 1,000 product lines, including mattresses at its 22 stores.

An Ikea spokesman said: "Like many retailers, we are experiencing ongoing challenges with our supply chains due to Covid-19 and labour shortages, with transport, raw materials and sourcing all impacted. In addition, we are seeing higher customer demand as more people are spending more time at home.

"What we are seeing is a perfect storm of issues, including the disruption of global trade flows and a shortage of drivers, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic and Brexit.”

Ikea’s delivery partner Wincanton declined to comment on the situation. However in the same week James Wroath, chief executive of Wincanton, called for lorry driver training to be cut from a year to three months in a bid to help tackle the “intense pressure” on supply chains.

Wroath told the Daily Telegraph that he wants to see the introduction of “fast track learning opportunities for young drivers which would see their qualification time cut from 12 months to three” to “allow us to build a stronger, British workforce” that will include more women.

He also urged the government to “consider a temporary relaxation of the rules around foreign drivers to enable us to get over this squeezed period”.

Read more

Accolade, which owns Hardys, Echo Falls, Kumala, Banrock Station and Stowells, said HGV driver and staff shortages are threatening supplies. The company delivers around 35m cases of wine to 143 countries each year.

Richard Foye, Accolade Wines chief executive, said: "These shortages, if they continue, could definitely impact Christmas. We are trying to get ahead of it, but it does depend on the situation for the entire transport and trucking industry in the UK."

He added: “The only way we can mitigate this is if we work very closely with our trucking and transport suppliers and our customers. We have done some of that and are managing well so far, but ultimately costs will go up.

"Staff shortages are definitely there and there's a whole new group of employees that need to be trained, from truck drivers to restaurant staff," Foye continued.

These are the latest in a chain of reports of delayed supplies due to the shortage of drivers. The NHS has warned that flu vaccinations in England and Wales are being delayed due to the HGV driver shortage, whilst supermarket retailers, including Tesco and Iceland, are predicting shortages of some products in the run-up to Christmas.

Wetherspoons is also reported to have run short of some beer brands, but the company insisted the shortage was not linked to Brexit but to industrial action, although unions deny this.

Brewers Heineken and Molson Coors, and fast food chains McDonald's, KFC and Nando's have also been hit by supply issues in the past few weeks.