The ‘big four’ grocer’s chief executive Dave Lewis revealed that “sensible” contingency planning was underway and the company had been holding talks with its suppliers about increasing stocks of long-life groceries. However Lewis said it was “not possible” to have a similar arrangement with fresh goods as Britain imports about half the fresh food it eats.
He said: “We looked at the lifecycle and production of product categories that matter most to customers and sat down with all suppliers to discuss their production capability, where they hold stock and if we can help them hold it. It’s not possible to do that sort of thing on fresh food, so that’s where the pinch point would be if there were to be a no-deal.”
The comments follow those made by Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe earlier this week who said that a no-deal Brexit would likely be “highly disruptive”.
Meanwhile Marks and Spencer revealed its own Brexit planning committee had “upped the ante”. It’s chief executive, Steve Rowe, said: “We have taken some additional long-life stuff but our food business is 70% fresh and anything that slows down will contribute to cost and waste.”
Tesco’s comments come after it announced a 2.6% increase in sales over the Christmas period.