LONDON, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Fewer shops in Britain have
shortages of potato crisps this week than the week before,
official figures showed on Thursday, in a sign that supply
problems for the popular snack food are easing.
Some 24% of food shops surveyed by Kantar Public for the
Office for National Statistics had no or low stocks of
multi-packs of crisps between Nov. 19 and Nov. 22, down from 30%
the week before.
Britain's biggest crisp producer Walkers, part of PepsiCo
, had to scale back production at the start of the month
after problems with an IT systems upgrade, which it warned could
take weeks to fix.
Supply chain problems have been common in Britain and
elsewhere as businesses adjust to shifts in consumer demand and
the availability of workers following the COVID-19 pandemic -
and, in Britain's case, Brexit.
The ONS said 14% of businesses it surveyed reported labour
shortages in late November, similar to the month before. This
rises to 38% in the accommodation and food services sectors,
which shed many staff during the pandemic and often relied
heavily on European Union workers.
The Bank of England is looking closely at the job market for
signs of pay pressures - or, conversely, higher unemployment
after the end of furlough support on Oct. 1 - as it considers
whether to raise interest rates on Dec. 16.
Earlier official data showed a record number 1.172 million
job vacancies in the three months to the end of October.
Thursday's data showed the volume of online job adverts was
44% above its pre-pandemic level - the same as the week before -
while consumer spending on credit and debit cards was 3% higher
than before the pandemic, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.
(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Alistair Smout)