Wednesday, 27 Oct 2021

GOT to be joking! Britons scramble to panic-buy CHRISTMAS puddings

HGV shortages: 'Buy early for Christmas' advises expert

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“I must buy my Easter eggs now,” Twitter user @SteveMiraverde posted reacting to the rushed shoppers that have contributed to the findings of analytics firm Kantar, whose data shows 449,000 consumers bought their Christmas pudding in September – a 76 percent rise on last year. People have also stocked up on toys and wrapping paper.

Ahead of the festive season, some frenzied Britons have gone to the shops to ensure they don’t miss out on essentials.

Over the past four weeks, there was a five percent year-on-year rise in toy sales and a 10 percent rise in gift wrapping products and mince pie. There has been a surge in frozen turkey sales, too.

The early purchases come in response to the lack of lorry drivers and a series of global supply chain issues. In the run-up to Christmas Day, though it is still two-and-a-half months away, this has resulted in soaring sales of festive products.

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One Twitter user, @Admalez, wrote: “Given that Christmas is still about 3 months away, anyone actually doing this is an absolute fool.”

Another one, @kyndigsson, in disbelief, criticised the panic-buyers: “It’s like people want to panic about something, to fill their sad empty little lives…”

Kantar’s head of retail and consumer insight Fraser McKevitt said: “A minority of very prepared shoppers took the chance to get ahead on their festive spending.

“People will be a bit more mindful about getting festive things in because of course, Christmas didn’t really happen last year to a large degree.”

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Mr McKevitt said that despite Christmas purchases being “brought forward a little bit” he wouldn’t describe the current attitude of shoppers as panic-buying.

But two-thirds out of 1,000 people surveyed by retail magazine The Grocer said to be worried or very worried at the prospect of Christmas food and drink shortages.

Warnings about potential shortages this winter from some companies, including Nestlé and Walkers Shortbread, may add to their anxiety.

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Shopping lists are looking different this fall, with thousands including products typically consumed in the festive season months ahead of December 25.

What isn’t clear is whether consumers plan to keep the products until Christmas Day or whether pudding, of which sales have soared the most, is shifting towards becoming a dessert to be enjoyed all year round.

Whatever the reason for their unexpected purchases, ministers are urging them, once again, not to panic.

Cabinet Minister Steven Barclay today advised against stockpiling: “I think people should just remember the start of the pandemic when our supply chains came under huge strain and they saw the resilience of the UK retail sector.”

Suggesting that the same could happen at supermarket aisles, Mr Barclay emphasised that shortages at petrol stations were “driven by a consumer reaction” rather than an actual lack of fuel.

It is hoped the 5,000 visas being issued to foreign truck drivers until Christmas Eve will alleviate concerns about shortages.

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