Asda has chartered a cargo ship and is bolstering turkey stocks in a bid to stop Christmas being upended by supply chain problems.
The boat, containing 350 containers of toys, clothes and decorations, has set sail from China and is due to dock in the UK early next month.
It comes as Asda reported a 0.7 per cent dip in third quarter sales as demand for online deliveries waned.
The grocer told investors it was “navigating the industry-wide supply chain challenges” and had made early preparations to keep shelves stocked.
It has increased the numbers of turkeys and pigs in blankets in stores, and built up supplies of mince pies and Christmas puddings at its depots.
Some 15,000 extra temporary staff have been recruited to deal with festive demand.
Asda is the second supermarket to commandeer an unusual vehicle this autumn to protect itself from supply chain shocks.
Tesco has responded to lorry driver shortages by increasing its dependence on trains, which it uses to import produce from Spain.
It aims to have increased containers on rail to 90,000 by the end of the year, up from 65,000 in September.
The trains, which “mostly” run on electricity and keep food fresh using chilled containers, produce 76 per cent less CO2 than lorries.