Great Britain

Supply chain crisis: John Lewis charters ships to keep shelves filled before Christmas

John Lewis has chartered ships to ensure it has stock available for Christmas as supply chain shortages continue.

Several retailers and restaurants across the country have been struggling with supply chain issues as a result of Brexit, HGV drivers shortages and the effect of the pandemic.

John Lewis chair Sharon White said the business is positioning itself to ensure stock shortages experienced this summer would not disrupt Christmas.

The partnership has lined up extra ships through a freight company it works with to boost import options, she said.

Earlier this week, the retailer announced plans to hire more than 7,000 temporary staff across the country – 2,000 more than last year – to ensure stock availability across the festive period.

The chain recorded a pre-tax loss of £29m for the six months to 31 July, with a loss of £635 million in the same period last year when the first national lockdown took place.

John Lewis has also raised wages for HGV delivery drivers to address labour shortages, an adjustment Ms White said is already seeing results.

“We are working very quickly to make sure that Christmas is smooth,” added Ms White. “We are keen to act now before anything becomes a major problem. We have been working ahead of time with shipments, such as Christmas trees and other products, from Asia to help avoid disruption.”

However, the renowned John Lewis Christmas TV advert will reportedly be delayed for two weeks.

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