No shortage of food, say stores

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ISLANDERS will not be short of food for Christmas dinner despite some ongoing problems with supply chains, supermarket heads have said.

In the autumn, concerns were raised by Channel Islands Co-operative Society chief executive Mark Cox about whether a full range of goods would be available heading into the festive season.

But now Mike Rutter, managing director of the Island’s largest retailer, SandpiperCI, and the Co-op’s chief retail officer, Mark Crean, have said that availability levels are good. Mr Rutter said that the firm’s partnership with large franchises, such as Marks and Spencer and Iceland, had helped ensure their supply chains were ‘robust’.

‘Our food shops are very well stocked and there’s no risk to Christmas dinner,’ he said.

‘There are a few shortages in some areas but in our food stores we are in a really good position for supplies.

‘Companies that we work with like Marks and Spencer have very robust supply chains. Plus, because they sell both food and clothing, they have always been able to keep their supply chain going. What’s difficult is when you stop and have to restart with your supply chain.’

He added that supply issues were more prevalent in non-food areas such as electronics.

‘Supply chains from the Far East are lumpy at the moment and this is affecting things like the delivery of electronic goods,’ he said.

‘There are containers in the wrong places and it can take a week or two longer for things to arrive.’

Mr Crean said the Co-op was working hard to make sure its shelves remained stocked.

‘We are working with our supply chain partners both locally and in the UK constantly to make sure that stocks are flowing into our stores,’ he said.

‘I’m pleased to say that so far we are reporting good availability in most areas and our range of chilled party food is in store now.’

He added that customer demand had been ‘steady’ but stores were ‘very busy’ last weekend.

‘As with every Christmas, we try to anticipate when the big sales day will be but this year, with Christmas Day being at the end of the week, we think sales will spread out a little more than normal,’ he said.

‘We have seen the usual upturn in Christmas lines such as mince pies, alcohol and chilled party food. Our online business has also reported a brisk level of trade.’

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