The chief of Britain’s biggest specialist wine retailer insists that the shelves will be full this Christmas, in spite of supply chain issues affecting alcohol.

Majestic Wines chief executive John Colley said Majestic Wines planned ahead for months and kept 20% more stock last year than the previous year. Majestic Wines has 1.8million wine bottles stored in its warehouses.

He’s strikingly different from a letter that was published yesterday by Wine and Spirits Trade Association and cosigned by dozens if firms and warned about a potential alcohol shortage in the country during festive season.

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

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

This letter stated that HGV drivers and freight disruptions must be addressed. If they are not, some tipples may disappear from grocery shelves. Businesses could also lose large amounts of trade.

It asked the UK Government for an extension of the existing temporary visa scheme to lorry drivers to at most one year. They also requested that the routes to ports be improved and regular updates provided on HGV test results and driver licenses. 

Majestic Wine did not sign the letter. It has avoided most of the problems that affect the alcohol industry, but it had warned this year earlier about difficulties with shipping from Europe.

Colley stated that “This Christmas could be the year when other regions are prominent in spite of the shortages in some areas.”

“For example we expect record South African sales and English sparkling sales, replacing New Zealand and Champagne.

“With our extra stock and focus on intuition sourcing from new regions, we feel confident that this will result in Majestic having full shelves.”

A letter by the Wine and Spirits Trade Association warned that the UK could face an alcohol shortage this Christmas, unless the Government dealt with the shortage of HGV drivers

Wine and Spirits Trade Association wrote to alert the UK that it could experience an alcohol shortage for Christmas. This was unless the government addressed the issue of the lack of HGV drivers

He made his comments on the same day that the shortage in British crisps was showing signs of improving, according to Kantar Public’s survey for the Office for National Statistics.

A fifth of shops said they had low supplies of multi-packs of crisps, compared to 30 per cent the week before – though 4 per cent of stores revealed they had no stock whatsoever.

After technical difficulties arising out of an upgraded IT system at the factory’s site, Walkers, a well-known snack food maker, reduced its production at Leicester. This led to the scarcity.

The IT problem was ultimately fixed but it caused a decrease in availability of favorite consumer foods like Monster Munch, Quavers, Wotsits and Wotsits. In some instances, there were even supermarket shelves virtually devoid of crisps. 

Supply issues: A fifth of shops said they had low supplies of multi-packs of crisps compared to 30 per cent the week before according to the Office for National Statistics

Source: The Office for National Statistics. Supply problems: Five percent of shops reported having low stock levels of multi-packs, compared to 30% one week earlier.

Numerous stores were also affected by a shortage of Paracetamol and Ibruprofen, along with fresh meat and frozen turkey. A few shops reported having problems with beer and fresh fruits, and some stores had issues with toothpaste.  

As businesses adapt to changes in consumer demand and the availability of workers after the Covid-19 pandemic, and in Britain, Brexit, supply chain issues have become commonplace. 

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According to the ONS, 14% of companies it polled reported a shortage in labour for November. This is similar to what was happening the previous month. 

It was 38% in the sector of accommodation and food services, where many people were laid off during the pandemic. They previously relied on workers from the European Union. 

The Bank of England is looking closely at the job market for signs of pay pressures – or, conversely, higher unemployment after the end of furlough support on October 1 – as it considers whether to raise interest rates on December 16.

An earlier report showed that 1.17 million jobs were vacant in October, a new record. 

On Thursday, data revealed that the number of online job advertisements was at 44% above the pre-pandemic levels, which was the same week as before. However, consumer spending on credit or debit cards was 3% higher than before the pandemic. This is a non-seasonally adjusted figure. 

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