Driver shortage to persist until 2022, warns Iceland

Iceland believes the lorry driver crisis will continue flattening profits and raising prices into next year.

It comes as the Road Haulage Association claimed government plans to revamp HGV tests would take at least two years to fix Britain’s creaking supply chain.

“The HGV driver shortages are resulting in availability issues and additional costs across all retailers, and we expect this to continue into 2022,” Iceland said in a Tuesday update.

Chief executive Richard Walker said that the haulier shortfall had caused steeper cost increases than Covid-19 or Brexit.

READ MORE: Iceland hits £60m profit after lockdown sales boost

“It impacts every single element of the supply chain,” he told the Financial Times.

Walker said Iceland would try to absorb the extra expenses, but argued the industry could not “indefinitely” avoid price rises.

He again called for an EU driver visa, having last week criticised the government’s “mad” opposition to the scheme.

Food prices have fallen for most of the year, but the rate of decline halved to 0.2 per cent last month.

The British Retail Consortium has warned of price inflation in the “coming months”.

Iceland also admitted that its underlying profit would be lower in the second quarter.

The supermarket reported a fall of almost three-quarters in operating profit in the first quarter to June.

However, sales were still higher than before the pandemic and, since 2019, Iceland has increased sales faster than any food retailer except Ocado.

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