Staff and supply shortages still hitting Shropshire supermarkets hard

Labour shortages and supply chain issues could continue into the new year, a supermarket boss has warned.

Harry Delves is the commercial director at Tuffins
Harry Delves is the commercial director at Tuffins

Harry Delves, commercial director of Tuffins Supermarket, the largest independently-owned supermarket in Shropshire, said difficulties with recruiting staff and supply chain disruption has put added pressure on the business and fears the issues could continue for months.

It comes as Britain's economy has been plunged into a supply chain crisis, with major retailers' stock levels at their lowest since 1983 as a result of worker shortages and transport disruption caused by Covid and Brexit.

Mr Delves said: "We have been suffering with deliveries for months now. Products are still coming in but not at the numbers before.

"One week we had no frozen food delivered because of a breakdown at the wholesalers' main, central hub.

"As well as shortages of products, we have also faced a shortage of people.

"We've had people leaving and going on to other things, but we're not getting as many applicants. Maybe this because a lot of people are choosing to go to university or because there is such a great competition for staff.

"We probably employ about 80 people and in Craven Arms we could probably do with seven or eight members of staff.

"I don't see anything getting easier this side of Christmas as I think there is a lot of trepidation about, but hopefully things will start to improve in the new year."

Major food suppliers have also warned shoppers they will need to get used to paying higher prices for their products.

Miguel Patricio, the boss of Heinz Kraft, said the firm is "raising prices, where necessary around the world" of products including ketchup and baked beans.

"If prices from our wholesalers and suppliers increase, we will have no choice but to put up the cost of our products," Mr Delves warned.

Elsewhere, Andrew Faulks, of Stans Superstore in St Martins, near Oswestry, said supply chain issues had improved for the business.

"About a month or six weeks ago 60 per cent of our orders were coming through, but now about 90 per cent are.

"Walking around the store, everything looks well stocked. Being an independent retailer helps I think as we can source things from different wholesalers or local suppliers.

“We have also just taken on seven members of staff to help us between now and Christmas,” he added.

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