SHOPPERS in Gwent and across Wales have been met with empty shelves in supermarkets.

Shelves usually full of produce at Tesco in Cardiff Road, Newport, lay almost completely empty yesterday, Tuesday, with staff at the store reportedly saying the heat had caused a freezer at a supply depot in Magor to break down.

Heat can cause problems with fridges and freezers, and the problem is also partially being put down to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as Brexit.

South Wales Argus:

Tesco in Cardiff Road on Tuesday evening

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We have had temporary problems with the refrigerators at our Newport Extra store as a result of the extremely high temperatures we have experienced in recent days.

"Our maintenance teams have been working hard to get them up and running and we apologise to our customers for any inconvenience this has caused".

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said the rising number of self-isolations is also having a “significant impact” on retail stores.

She said: “Community cases continue to rise fast in many areas of the UK, creating a challenge for many shops and distribution centres."

South Wales Argus:

Tesco in Cardiff Road on Tuesday evening

An increasing number of people getting 'pinged' by the Track and Trace app and being told to isolate as they haev been in contact with someone with coronavirus is also reportedly staff problems throughout the sector.

Richard Walker, managing director of the supermarket group Iceland, said to the BBC: "We have got over 1,000 people absent due to Covid, that’s the highest ever since testing began.

“It’s about four per cent of our total workforce of 30,000.

South Wales Argus:

Tesco in Cardiff Road on Tuesday evening

"In fact, we have just announced employing an additional 2,000 people on top of that to give us a deeper pool of labour, because so many people are now getting pinged.

"A number of stores have had to close and the concern is that as this thing rises exponentially, as we have just been hearing, it could get a lot worse, a lot quicker".

The shortage is also being blamed for a lack of HGV drivers because of Brexit.

The Road Haulage Association say that the UK is short of around 100,000 HGV drivers.