Morrisons’ chairman has downplayed concerns over the supermarket supply chain this Christmas.
Andy Higginson said he was “not worried” about the challenges arising from a shortage of goods drivers and reports forecasting empty shelves this autumn, the BBC reported.
The supermarket boss said problems in the supply chain were “well publicised” and “slightly overblown”.
“Supply chains in the UK are incredibly efficient and I’m sure we’ll be able to deliver a great Christmas for customers as we go through. I think it’ll be a good Christmas for people, I think they’ll want to treat themselves,” Higginson said.
Retailers are readying for a festive period that will see families and friends reunite for social gatherings, after Covid restrictions subdued celebrations last year.
Morrisons has arrangements with 2,700 British farmers, who deliver livestock and produce directly to its 17 food processing facilities, which supply 493 stores.
Higginson’s comments come after US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice beat the Fortress Investment consortium at auction for Morrisons with a bid of £7bn.
Private equity deal
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) bid 287 pence per share – 2 pence per share above their existing offer and just a penny above the 286 pence offered by a consortium led by SoftBank-owned Fortress Investment.
Higginson said CD&R was attracted to the supermarket chain because it owned a quarter of its suppliers, including fisheries and meat production operations.
He added that “private equity gets a bit of a bad rap sometimes” and said CD&R was focused on the growth of the firm.
Other retailers have warned of challenges in the coming months, including increases to food prices.
“We’re probably looking at, for food overall…mid-single digit increases which is much higher than we’ve had in recent years,” Tesco’s chairman John Allan, told ITV last week.
However, Allan added: “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.”