Bottled water is a major casualty of the ongoing driver shortage, according to retailers and industry experts.
Supermarket analyst Bryan Roberts told betterRetailing water was quickly deprioritised in supermarkets due to the shelf and lorry space it requires. “Some multiples are deciding to do what they did at the height of the pandemic and making room for fresh,” he said. “Water has a low margin and is massive in terms of the amount of space it takes up.”
However, suppliers were more positive, stating the outages stem from higher than expected demand.
Several store owners reported difficulties for “some weeks” in locating multipacks of water, particularly from brand Volvic.
Ketul Desai, owner of The General Store in Tufnell Park, London, said: “I haven’t seen 500ml bottles of Volvic anywhere. I’m going to any cash and carry I can.”
Roberts warned stores to expect ongoing issues regarding the driver shortages. “This is going to carry on,” he said. “In terms of what retailers can do, it’s not an easy answer. Communication is key.”
Last week, Tesco chief financial officer Imran Nawaz told betterRetailing that the multiple was expecting the driver shortage to continue impacting the sector until the end of the year.