Is Christmas at risk? A tale of Brexit, Covid-19, sprouts and wine
Guess what? It’s now December, so any misguided thoughts you may have had about avoiding references to Christmas are completely wiped out. No apologies here! But is Christmas 2021 at risk? Do you care?
When asked how Christmas plans are going, the grumpy among us might answer with, “Why does it matter?” and they may have a point when you consider the shenanigans happening within retail, supplies, staffing and logistics. At this rate Mariah could be singing, “All I want for Christmas is a cracking supply chain, lots of staff and plenty of sprouts”.
It seems that supply chain issues will put Christmas 2021 at risk. Perish the thought that Karen in Shropshire is compelled to complain to Santa when her four-year-old’s Armani sweater, stretch jeans and matching trainers (other brands are available) don’t arrive in time for him to chuck them on the sleigh next to the neighbour’s Lidl hamper. In fact, Santa and his team of reindeers are struggling to get their visas to work in the UK so Christmas Day could be off anyway!
Perhaps more worrying to some folk is that the worldwide shortage of shipping containers has put pressure on the supply of wine and other drinks into the UK. Wine!
On a serious note though, is Christmas 2021 really at risk?
Supply chain issues will continue throughout the Christmas period
Supply chain problems prompted retailers back in October to consider suspending next-day deliveries in the run-up to the big day. So huge was the signpost that this problem was coming. At Monarch Personnel we fully understand the strain that personnel in transport, fuelling and logistics are under as we work with some of the biggest players in high-risk and highly regulated industries.
Brexit, COVID-19 and skills shortages are all impacting the run-up to Christmas. Tom Platt, Deputy Managing Director at Liberty Wines told Drinks Retailing News that Brexit has added two additional days for paperwork and potential customs delays.
Supply chain disruption, limited vessel capacity and equipment shortages have all caused chaos in recent months as retailers struggle to fill their shelves. By the end of 2020 the global shortage of shipping containers contributed to a rise of 185% in container rates, while freight prices also increased. These are costs that suppliers have had to pass on to the consumer in 2021.
The logistics sector contributes £127 billion gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy. It is vital for the country’s financial success. Its problems are having a far greater impact on the country than the safe delivery of Karen’s Christmas shopping.
Social distancing measures and an increase in home working and online shopping have also contributed to a new way of life that the supply chain has had to adapt to.
The higher cost of groceries will be evidenced on the Christmas dinner table
The price of groceries has increased throughout 2021 as supermarkets faced rises in supply chain costs. According to data analysts Kantar Group, grocery price inflation reached 2.1% in the four weeks to 31st October. They also found evidence that consumers have been preparing for Christmas much earlier than usual. It seems 4.7 million households bought mince pies in October while 1.6 million stocked up on Christmas puddings!
Will you cancel Christmas?
With Santa’s helpers changing career to become LGV drivers with a signing-up bonus, how will you navigate Christmas 2021? Or does it simply not matter?
Look out for the next article
Our next article will be published on Wednesday 8th December in which we will look back at how recruitment has changed in 2021.
In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about Monarch Personnel, you can read our latest articles by signing up for our newsletter. You can also follow us on our social media channels: LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook, or visit our website www.monarchpersonnel.com.