Sainsbury’s is encouraging customers to buy frozen turkeys and Christmas party food early this year after hinting at more limited choices this festive season.
The boss of Britain’s second-biggest supermarket chain has written to shoppers in a bid to spread out demand amid wider supply chain issues and lorry driver shortages.
The chief executive, Simon Roberts, said consumers may have to settle for alternatives “if the exact product you are looking for isn’t available”, but he insisted there was “plenty of food available”.
At the peak of the pandemic, supermarket chains reduced their ranges to cope with bulk-buying. Many have not reinstated all those lines as they grapple with product shortages in recent months.
Mr Roberts said frozen turkeys and party food were already available in store for the more eager shoppers ahead of Dec 19 when fresh turkeys hit the shelves.
“We expect to sell more fresh turkeys this year than ever before,” he said.
Longer-life products such as Christmas cakes and puddings, mince pies, nuts and cranberry sauce can also be bought now.
“If you want to get ahead of your Christmas gift list, the Argos Christmas Gift Guide is available in stores now and Sainsbury’s popular toy sales will be running in mid-November,” Mr Roberts said.
Other grocers such as Iceland started selling its Christmas range online a month in advance, while Morrisons announced a “mega sale” on toys this month “to help customers prepare for Christmas”.
Luxury grocer Fortnum & Mason has slashed delivery costs to encourage shoppers to put their orders in for Christmas early.
Home delivery slots for Christmas will open from Nov 23 for loyal Sainsbury’s shoppers.
Mr Roberts said: “Following reports that some popular products will be hard to find this Christmas, I want to let you know we’re working flat out to make it a Christmas to remember.”
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