Ikea struggling to supply around 1,000 product lines to UK customers due to Brexit and lorry driver shortage

Exclusive: All 22 Ikea stores in the UK are experiencing ‘ongoing challenges’ with supply chains

Holly Bancroft
Friday 03 September 2021 13:30 BST
<p>All 22 Ikea stores in the UK are experiencing ‘ongoing challenges’ with supply chains</p>

All 22 Ikea stores in the UK are experiencing ‘ongoing challenges’ with supply chains

Ikea is struggling to supply around 1,000 product lines to UK customers, with Brexit and a shortage of lorry drivers to blame for the disruption.

All 22 stores in the UK are experiencing problems and shoppers have reported some outlets completely running out of mattresses, among other items.

The Swedish retailer has said that 10 per cent of all its products are affected by the shortages.

Ikea is just one of a string of companies being hit by the impact of the current supply chain crisis.

Last week, McDonald’s, Iceland, the Co-op and Greggs all admitted that they were facing difficulties with stock.

The Wetherspoon chain said on Thursday that it was experiencing shortages of some beer brands. And now some of its restaurants have started putting up notices saying they have reduced food menus, The Independent can reveal.

Signs attached to tables and windows at the pub chain read: “We are experiencing a shortage of some menu items – some items may be temporarily unavailable while others may have changed.”

Talking about the problems at Ikea, one insider told The Independent: “What we are seeing is a perfect storm of issues, including the disruption of global trade flows and a shortage of drivers, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic and Brexit.”

A spokesperson for the company said: “Like many retailers, we are experiencing ongoing challenges with our supply chains due to Covid-19 and labour shortages, with transport, raw materials and sourcing all impacted.

“In addition, we are seeing higher customer demand as more people are spending more time at home. As a result, we are experiencing low availability in some of our ranges, including mattresses.”

One shopper, Karen Bateup, contacted Ikea saying: “We are trying to purchase a mattress but your Lakeside store says the Hovag are discontinued, but you have another taking its place. Can you help as no one seems to know the name of it.”

The company’s support team replied on social media that they had “supply issues on a number of mattresses” and that they could be getting more in stock in October.

Another buyer, Claire Mcmenamin, tried to buy the Hyllestad or Hokkasen mattresses in super king size but was told by IKEA support officers that both items had a “supplier issue” and couldn’t be ordered.

Industry leaders have warned that without urgent action to fill major gaps in the workforce the supply chain crisis could continue well into 2022.

The head of the Co-op supermarket said on Wednesday that the problems impacting the food retail sector were the worst he had ever seen.

Diners at some Wetherspoon restaurants are being warned that there is a “shortage of some menu items” and other dishes have had ingredients substituted due to problems with supply.

The English muffins and the chicken breast nuggets have both had ingredients changed to get around issues with the supplier.

A spokesperson for the restaurant chain said that “all items on the menu are available, but there might be substitute products of the same item from an alternative supplier, if the existing supplier can’t supply at present.”

Couriers are also warning that customs and supply issues caused by Brexit will have a big impact on retailers’ ability to supply Christmas toys and food.

Head of consumer research at ParcelHero, David Jinks, said: “British shoppers will have a smaller choice of gifts and food this Christmas and will have to pay more for those items that they can get.

“The Government is refusing to acknowledge and tackle post-Brexit chaos. Last October, we predicted a shortfall of 100,000 truck drivers and warehouse workers, after most “non-skilled” EU citizens returned to their home countries in the wake of the Brexit vote.

“This has already led to empty supermarket shelves this summer and high-profile shortages hitting the likes of Wetherspoon and McDonalds.”

Chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, Neil Carberry, speaking about the crisis, said: “Demand for workers remains very high across the economy and shows no sign of weakening.

“With businesses in the food, logistics and hospitality sectors starting to gear up for Christmas, the months ahead could be difficult, even with a large number of people coming off furlough in August and September.”

He added that, although many people are finding new work post-pandemic, “there is good evidence to suggest that the market will remain tight for some years to come, even if this current crisis passes.”

An Ikea spokesperson continued: “We hope this will reduce as the situation improves in the coming weeks and months.

“Going forward, we’re constantly looking for more opportunities to secure product availability for our customers and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in