Ocado has become the latest UK supermarket to begin stockpiling long-life products as a no-deal Brexit becomes increasingly likely.
The online grocery giant’s chief executive Tim Steiner warned that “you can’t store fresh food because it is fresh”, as he confirmed that his company had begun stockpiling a number of lines.
Despite efforts to sure up reserves in preparation for a no-deal scenario, Steiner warned that Ocado would need four times the amount of warehouse space it currently has in order to store just a month’s worth of food.
The inability to stockpile fresh produce, which Steiner says needs “free-flowing ports to move from its country of origin to the UK”, has caused other industry leaders to warn of potential price rises.
Tesco’s chairman John Allan cautioned that a no-deal Brexit would “almost inevitably” lead to higher prices, estimating average bills could rise by five per cent, while we may experience a shortage of fresh foods.
While Steiner said he did not anticipate any price hikes, he said Ocado would have to “wait and see” whether price rises would be necessary in a no-deal scenario.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told EU Leaders today that there was a “higher probability for no deal than deal” as progress between herself and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hit a brick wall.
It comes after Ocado announced a 35 per cent boost to sales during the second national UK lockdown, solidifying itself as one of the few retail winners of the pandemic.
Despite Ocado nearly doubling its profit forecasts for the full year, its stocks slipped as much as 4.6 per cent on the news.