Morrisons chairman says Christmas food fears ‘overblown’

Morrisons’ chairman has downplayed fears of Christmas food shortages, urging shoppers to “treat themselves”.

Andrew Higginson, who is expected to leave the supermarket this month, said speculation that Britain’s supply chain would collapse under festive demand was “slightly overblown”.

It comes just hours after Boris Johnson refused to rule out gaps appearing on shelves in the run-up to Christmas.

The country is thought to have a dire shortfall of lorry drivers and butchers, leading Waitrose boss James Bailey to claim that some families may go without a turkey this year.

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However, Higginson insisted that the UK’s supply chain is “incredibly efficient” and that “we’ll be able to deliver a great Christmas for customers”.

He is likely to be replaced by ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy later this month after private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice takes over the retailer.

Last month, Tesco chairman John Allan struck a similar tone to Higginson, saying he did not expect a “horrendous crisis at Christmas”.

Speaking on ITV’s Peston, he said: “I would hate people to get the impression that we’re going to have a terrible Christmas, they’ve got to go out and panic-buy.

“So much effort is going into averting that.”

In August, Allan admitted there “may be some shortages at Christmas” but stressed that people should not “over-dramatise” the issue.

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