Ikea struggles to stock shelves after HGV driver shortage hits supply chain


All 22 UK and Ireland Ikea stores are experiencing supply problems (Image: Getty)

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The Swedish furnishings chain blamed labour shortages as well as Covid restrictions. Other businesses, from flu vaccine suppliers to food and drink firms, have had delivery issues too. The Government has said it is “working closely with industry to address sector challenges”.

Ikea said all 22 of its UK and Ireland stores were having supply problems with a tenth of lines.

The firm added: “We are experiencing ongoing challenges with our supply chains due to Covid-19 and labour shortages. In addition, we are seeing higher customer demand as more people are spending more time at home.

“We are experiencing low availability in some of our ranges, including mattresses. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.” 

There is a shortage of more than 100,000 truckers, says the Road Haulage Association.

An estimated 30,000 driving licence tests for heavy goods vehicles did not take place last year due to social distancing.

As travel restrictions came in, many European drivers went home to work elsewhere. Tax changes also mean it is dearer for foreign drivers to work here.

Logistics firms want ministers to bring in temporary work visas.

Shoppers in Ikea

The lack of drivers has caused shortages in around 1,000 products at Ikea stores (Image: Getty)

Flu jabs in England and Wales have been delayed while Tesco and Iceland warned of shortages in the festive run-up.

Brewing giants Heineken and Molson Coors, plus fast-food chains including McDonald’s, KFC and Nando’s have been hit.

While the National Pig Association said a backlog of 85,000 animals on farms was due to a lack of abattoir staff.

Zoe Davies, the trade group’s chief executive, warned that “the last thing we want to see is pigs being destroyed on farms and the meat wasted”.

Meanwhile, Downing Street claimed that the shortfall of goods drivers was not unique to the UK.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This is something that they are seeing in Europe.” 

He said that the Government was streamlining the process for obtaining an HGV licence as well as increasing capacity for tests.

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