Harrods supply chain running 'three weeks behind schedule'

23 June 2022

Supply chain disruptions have forced luxury goods store Harrods to delay its flagship summer sale. 

Michael Ward, managing director of Harrods, told Bloomberg TV at the Qatar Economic Forum: “Our supply chain is running two to three weeks behind where it should be.

“A good example of that is we’ve just delayed the summer sale for two weeks because I need another 10% of new season stock to allow me to function into the new year.”

He said Brexit had exacerbated supply chain disruptions and added to pre-existing labour shortages. 

Ward said: “It’s almost impossible to find the right staff. We’ve lost significant amounts of people as a result of Brexit. And it’s not the skilled or qualified, it’s the people we need to do jobs that unfortunately the British will not do.”

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) last month warned that labour shortages were dampening the UK’s growth prospects following sustained supply chain hits including Brexit, the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the BCC, said: “With a new record set for the number of vacancies, and no easy way to fill them for many companies, labour shortages are likely to continue to damage the UK’s growth prospects.

“We need to find ways to bring people back into the UK labour market. Flexible working practices, rapid re-training opportunities and a focus on workplace health can support many economically inactive people to return to the workplace.

“But for some roles, where there is clear evidence of a national shortage of skills and labour, firms need access to people, at all skill levels, from outside the UK. As well as issuing temporary and seasonal visas, the UK government needs to urgently review the Shortage Occupation List.”

Harrods’ announcement follows research which found that luxury goods retailers were being hit the hardest by supply chain difficulties, with 92% of firms experiencing problems securing stock. 

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