Shortage of lorry drivers hits product lines at Ikea in Milton Keynes

Availability of up to 1,000 ranges including mattresses is low, say bosses

By Olga Norford
Friday, 3rd September 2021, 4:29 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd September 2021, 4:31 pm

Up to 1,000 product lines at the Milton Keynes branch of Ikea have been hit by the national shortage of lorry drivers.

The retail giant is the latest company to be caught up in the supply chain chaos currently affecting businesses across the country.

Companies say the UK's shortage of lorry drivers is widespread, causing serious supply chain problems.

The current shortage of lorry drivers is impacting product lines at Ikea, Milton Keynes

The coronavirus pandemic, Brexit and tax changes have all contributed to a lack of qualified drivers with industry bosses estimating a shortfall of about 100,000 workers.

A spokesman for Ikea said in a statement that a "perfect storm of issues, including the disruption of global trade flows and a shortage of drivers" have been made worse by the pandemic and Brexit, and was impacting around 10% of Ikea's entire range.

He added that transport, raw materials and sourcing at all of its 22 stores around the UK and Ireland had been affected by labour shortages and COVID-19.

"In addition, we are seeing higher customer demand as more people are spending more time at home," they said.

As a result, Ikea said it was currently experiencing "low availability in some of our ranges, including mattresses", adding: "We hope this will reduce as the situation improves in the coming weeks and months."

The shortfall of lorry drivers has been caused by a combination of post-Brexit EU immigration rules, Covid-19 restrictions and self-isolation guidance. However, critics of the UK's biggest food retailers have also called for better pay and working conditions to help attract local workers.