‘Our stores will be fully stocked this Christmas,’ says Majestic Wine boss

The head of Britain’s largest specialist wine merchant has insisted his company’s shelves will remain full this Christmas, despite supply chain problems in the alcohol sector.

John Colley, the CEO of Majestic Wines, said the company planned months in advance and had 20 percent more inventory than last year, including 1.8 million wine bottles in its warehouses.

His comments stand in stark contrast to a letter published yesterday by the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) and co-signed by dozens of companies, warning that the country could face an alcohol shortage during the holiday season. .

Majestic Wine boss said his company’s shelves will remain full this Christmas despite supply chain problems in the alcohol sector

The letter warned that unless the truck driver crisis and disruptions in the freight industry were adequately addressed, certain liquor could disappear from supermarket shelves and companies lose significant trade.

It urged the UK government to extend the scheme for incoming temporary visas for truck drivers to at least a year, improve freight routes out of ports and provide regular updates on the processing of truck tests and driving licences.

Majestic Wine was not one of the signatories to the letter and has largely sidestepped the problems in the alcohol sector, although it warned earlier this year it was having problems with cargo coming from Europe.

Colley said: “This Christmas could be the year where we see other regions come to the fore because of shortages in certain areas.

“For example, we expect record sales of Sparkling in South Africa and English, rather than New Zealand and Champagne respectively.

“With the additional inventory we are bringing in and the focus on intuitive sourcing from emerging regions, we are confident this will mean that, at least at Majestic, our shelves will remain full.”

A letter from the Wine and Spirits Trade Association warned the UK could face an alcohol shortage this Christmas unless the government tackles the truck driver shortage

A letter from the Wine and Spirits Trade Association warned the UK could face an alcohol shortage this Christmas unless the government tackles the truck driver shortage

His comments came on the same day that the UK chip shortage showed signs of easing, according to a study by global research group Kantar Public commissioned by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

One-fifth of stores said they had few multipacks of chips, compared to 30 percent the week before, although 4 percent of stores said they had no stock at all.

The scarcity stems from the fact that popular snack maker Walkers cut production at its Leicester factory following technical issues arising from the upgrade of the site’s IT system.

While the IT issue was eventually resolved, the issue resulted in reduced availability of consumer favorites such as Monster Munch, Quavers, and Wotsits, and in some cases, supermarket shelves that were virtually out of chips.

Supply problems: One-fifth of stores said they had low inventory of multipacks of chips, compared to 30 percent the week before, according to the Office for National Statistics

Supply problems: One-fifth of stores said they had low inventory of multipacks of chips, compared to 30 percent the week before, according to the Office for National Statistics

Many stores also reported being hit by a shortage of the painkillers Ibruprofen and Paracetamol, as well as fresh pork and frozen turkey, while a few stores reported running out of beer, fresh fruit and toothpaste.

Supply chain issues are common in Britain and elsewhere as businesses adapt to shifts in consumer demand, as well as worker availability after the Covid-19 pandemic and, in Britain’s case, Brexit.

The ONS said 14 percent of companies it surveyed reported labor shortages in late November, a similar level to the previous month.

This rose to 38 percent in the accommodation and food sector, which laid off many staff during the pandemic and previously relied heavily on workers in the European Union.

The Bank of England is watching the labor market closely for signs of wage pressures – or, conversely, higher unemployment after the leave support ends on October 1 – as it considers raising interest rates on December 16.

Earlier official data showed a record 1.17 million job openings in the three months to the end of October.

Thursday’s data showed that the volume of online job openings was 44 percent above pre-pandemic levels, the same as the week before, while consumer spending on credit and debit cards was 3 percent higher than pre-pandemic, on a non-seasonal basis. adjusted basis.

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