Empty shelves shortage crisis

Warburtons is suffering ‘failed deliveries’ into supermarkets and convenience stores due to driver shortages compounded by the pandemic.

Messages from Nisa seen by betterRetailing warned stores served by the baker’s West Midlands depot would be hit by ‘failed deliveries’ on 8 July.

Stores in Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland and Tyne & Tees were also told their 12 July deliveries would be cancelled due to Warburtons ‘resting several routes’ from its Riverside depot.

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Nisa also warned further Warburtons supply disruption was possible into stores across the UK over the next eight weeks.

Unlike in May 2020, when Warburtons faced boycotts for cancelling local shop deliveries to protect supply into supermarkets, the company said it is providing equal service levels to all customers.

“The disruption affected customers across the board in the area served by the depot,” said a Warburtons spokesperson.

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Warburtons told betterRetailing it was maintaining ‘a good level of service’ nationwide but admitted challenges “at a local level.” They added: “We, like many businesses, are experiencing higher levels of absence [due to rising Covid-19 rates] and […] more people having to self-isolate.

The company said the West Midlands depot disruption was limited to only one day “despite significant driver ability challenges”.

The company is taking major steps to strengthen its production and distribution capabilities, such as the opening of a new £56m depot in Banbury on 12 July.

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