Posted: Sun 13th Dec 2020

No-deal Brexit – boss of Deeside based Iceland “not concerned about shelf shortages” amidst media reports of supermarket stockpiling

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Dec 13th, 2020

The managing director of Deeside based Iceland has said he’s not “concerned about shelf shortages” amidst media reports that supermarkets have begun stockpiling food ahead of a possible no-deal Brexit.

Richard Walker was responding to a Sunday Times article which he said “sensationalised” the issue and wasn’t credible, as supermarkets won’t have the capacity to stockpile during the busiest month of the year.

The article headlined “Ministers warn supermarkets to stockpile food amid no‑deal Brexit fears” states:

“Supermarkets are this weekend stockpiling food and other goods after being told by ministers that a no-deal Brexit is on the cards.”

“Food producers have warned there will be shortages of vegetables for three months and emergency planners predict that no-deal would spark panic-buying on a scale that could dwarf the coronavirus crisis.”

The Iceland boss said that at a time when supermarket depots are “100% full with Christmas stock” how could they stockpile more?

Mr Walker tweeted: “If you’re going to sensationalise, at least make it credible.”

“How would we stockpile fresh food – or even frozen, given that depots are 100% full with Christmas stock? Deal or no deal, I am not concerned about shelf shortages.”

The managing director of Deeside based Iceland says he expects to see “short term” gaps on shelves across the supermarket chains stores following the “turbulence” of Brexit.

The UK and EU have agreed to carry on post-Brexit trade talks past today’s deadline following a call between the two leaders.

In a joint statement, Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said

“We had a useful phone call this morning. We discussed the major unresolved topics.”

“Our negotiating teams have been working day and night over recent days.”

“And despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines have been missed over and over we think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile.”

“We have accordingly mandated our negotiators to continue the talks and to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached.”

In 2019 Mr Walker – who voted to leave the EU – said he expects to see “short term” gaps on shelves across the supermarket chains stores following the “turbulence” of Brexit.

In a BBC interview , the Iceland MD said a no-deal Brexit would be damaging to Iceland’s fresh food supply lines, which account for a third of the supermarket chains sales.

He also said a no-deal scenario will “hit the most vulnerable communities the worst” and feared products like bacon could be missing from the shelves of his stores or prices hiked through tariffs.

“I love the bacon sandwich in the morning, as do so many of our customers, but almost the entirety of the UK is domestic bacon comes from Denmark.

I don’t know whether there’s going to be friction at the border, there will be tariffs on the bacon, I’m just not quite sure how that will play out. No doubt in the short term, there will be a bit of turbulence.

Asked if Iceland would be stockpiling ahead of the UK leaving the EU, Mr Walker said:

“It’s a bit of a misdirection, companies can’t really stockpile for more than a week or two they just don’t have the room on the balance sheet or indeed in warehouses.”

 

 

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