John Lewis charters ships to ensure Christmas stock arrives

John Lewis charters ships to ensure Christmas stock arrives

9/16/2021 7:51:00 PM

John Lewis charters ships to ensure Christmas stock arrives

The department store chain says it is trying everything to get goods to the UK for the holiday season.

'We don't have a lorry driver shortage problem'John Lewis is chartering a fleet of extra ships, along with a number of other businesses, to make sure it has Christmas stock on time.Retailers have been grappling with a host of supply chain problems from driver shortages to shipping delays.

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John Lewis chair Sharon White said the business was throwing everything at the issues to make sure Christmas would not be disrupted.The retailer recorded a pre-tax loss of £29m for the six months to 31 July.That compares with a £635m loss for the same period last year. Sales for the group rose by 6%, aided by strong demand for homeware, fashion, nursery furnishing and Waitrose online grocery sales.

John Lewis has 34 department stores and 331 Waitrose supermarket stores alongside its online operation.John Lewis and Waitrose plan to cut 1,000 jobs"We're acting hard and we're acting fast to make sure we can still deliver a fantastic sparkly Christmas to our customers," Ms White told the BBC.

She added that the department store chain had introduced a host of measures to help manage labour shortages: "We've raised wages for heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers and we're really beginning to see the results of that."There is now a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK, out of a pre-pandemic total of about 600,000, a Road Haulage Association survey of its members estimates.

This has led to a chronic lack of materials for the construction sector, such as cement and timber, as well as problems for the manufacturing sector.Christmas is when many retailers make most of their profits, including John Lewis.And it's throwing everything at it to make sure its stock arrives on time. The pandemic has wreaked havoc for the flow of goods around the world.

There's still a shortage of containers and it's also tough getting a space on the vast ships that carry them from China.Freight costs have also rocketed. And if your stock does turn up as planned, you've got to make sure you have drivers to get the goods to distribution centres and on to stores.

Add in the uncertainty over Covid and no wonder retailers are even more nervous than usual about the all important festive season.Ms White said the John Lewis Christmas campaign in stores would be delayed by two weeks.John Lewis said it was focusing on expanding its products and offerings for the holiday season, including 10 new Christmas emporiums in John Lewis and expanding areas related to the department store within Waitrose supermarkets.

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However, Ms White sought to temper expectations: "We're not through Covid and there's more uncertainty than we would like." Read more: BBC News (UK) »

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Couldn’t they make this stuff in the UK? It's amazing that we've spent 5 years telling Europeans that we hate them and they're not welcome here anymore and now a load of them, including truck drivers, have left and we're having to 'charter ships' to get stuff delivered. We'll done to everyone concerned

johnlewis you are a very good man, a very very good man. That just puts more pressure on current supply chain issues, do we really need to make sure everyone gets their Christmas lights in time while supermarkets struggle with empty food shelves Just checking, they haven’t used some bloke called Grayling have they?

John Lewis to create thousands of Christmas jobsThe partnership is looking to fill 7,000 temporary roles in shops, department stores and warehouses.

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