Morrisons warns of 'industry-wide' price hike to cope with lorry driver shortage

The supermarket giant is at the centre of a bidding battle between two US private equity firms. Credit: PA

Morrisons has warned it may be forced to increase its prices due to widespread lorry driver shortages, as it revealed half-year profits have plummeted by 43%.

The supermarket giant said industry-wide price hikes and some product shortages could be on the cards in the coming months due to the driver shortages, global commodity price increases, and higher haulage costs.

Bosses said they will try to reduce the impact of the cost pressures and supply issues to keep its shelves stocked.

“We expect some industry-wide retail price inflation during the second half, driven by sustained recent commodity price increases and freight inflation, and the current shortage of HGV drivers," the company said.

“We will seek to mitigate these and other potential cost increases, such as any incurred to maintain good on-shelf availability.”

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Supermarkets, retailers, farms, food producers and logistics companies have been warning that supply chains are at breaking point due to an acute shortage of HGV drivers for months.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is set to announce plans to accelerate the training of drivers in an attempt to prevent supply outages in the run-up to Christmas.

Industry experts have warned the issues could last well into the winter, with one supplier raising concerns that stocks of Christmas dinner favourites could run low as driver and general staffing shortages continue.

Morrisons chairman Andrew Higginson said: “Across the business the whole Morrisons team has shown commendable resilience facing into a variety of continuing challenges during the first half, including the ongoing pandemic, disruption at some of our partner suppliers, and the impact on our supply chain of HGV driver shortages.”