Supermarket heads downplay festive supply fears

Supermarket bosses have promised a “Christmas to remember” as they downplayed fears that dinners would be hit by the supply chain crisis.

Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer all struck a “feel-good tone” in a bid to stop customers panic-buying turkeys and mince pies.

One in eight adults started shopping for Christmas food earlier than usual this year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts recently wrote to shoppers to claim there will be “plenty of food” for everyone.

READ MORE: Festive shopping brings M&S early Christmas present

“Following reports that some popular products will be hard to find this Christmas, I want to let you know we’re working flat out to make it a Christmas to remember,” he said.

“We are confident that even if the exact product you are looking for isn’t available, there will be a good alternative.

“Longer-life products such as Christmas cakes and puddings, mince pies, nuts and cranberry sauce are already available.”

Roberts added that Sainsbury’s expects to “sell more fresh turkeys this year than ever before”.

Festive shopping is already well underway, with 1.6 million households buying Christmas puddings – across all retailers – in October.

Frozen poultry sales are up 27 per cent since last year as customers spent an extra £6.1 million over October. 

Earlier this week, Marks & Spencer head Steve Rowe said the grocer is set to “deliver a great Christmas for our customers”.

He also pledged that there would not be “any shortages of pigs in blankets at Marks & Spencer at all”.

A Waitrose spokesperson was “confident” that it could “provide our customers with everything they need” for the festive season.

“We are working closely with our suppliers and are very confident we’ll have a fantastic array of products to,” they added.

However, Waitrose chief executive James Bailey warned in August that families might not be able to get hold of a turkey.

Festive demand plus the return of butchers to eastern Europe meant order numbers might not be “manageable”, he said.

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