Sainsbury’s blames shortages on football and lorry drivers

Sainsbury’s has warned of gaps in shelves after struggling to cope with demand fuelled by the Euros and lorry driver shortfalls.

Chief executive Simon Roberts said the popularity of soft drinks, beer and barbecue foods had leapt as families stayed at home to watch the football.

“As customers are spending more time together for the big events we have seen demand respond as a result,” he told The Guardian.

Sainsbury’s beer sales have surged by 60 per cent since the tournament began.

READ MORESainsbury’s shoppers outraged after contactless goes down

On Saturday, it sold 17 packs a second as England fans stocked up for the quarter-final match against Ukraine.

Roberts also admitted the supermarket had difficulty sourcing salad packs, along with particular beer and soft drink brands, on account of delivery driver shortages.

However, he claimed to have brought in a range of different items so that “in areas that customers want to buy we have got availability”.

According to the Road Haulage Association, there is a “catastrophic” shortfall of around 70,000 lorry drivers.

Wholesalers, retailers and logistics firms have repeatedly sounded the alarm bell over the issue in recent months.

The government recently held crisis talks with industry leaders, though one minister reportedly accused the sector of “crying wolf” last month.

The news comes after Sainsbury’s revealed that its grocery sales growth had slowed to just 0.8 per cent.

However, given the panic-buying as the country went into lockdown last year, this was up 11.3 per cent from 2019.

Roberts seemed to hint that growth would continue shrinking, saying he expected shopping patterns to “normalise further”.

Supermarkets

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