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Explained: Post-Brexit supermarket link-up in Northern Ireland

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Sainsbury's was concerned that new checks on food products could have prevented goods like chilled meats and dairy products from making it into fridges in its 13 stores here

Sainsbury's was concerned that new checks on food products could have prevented goods like chilled meats and dairy products from making it into fridges in its 13 stores here

PA

Sainsbury's was concerned that new checks on food products could have prevented goods like chilled meats and dairy products from making it into fridges in its 13 stores here

Q Why am I seeing Spar products in my local Sainsbury's?

A It has entered into an agreement with Henderson, which owns Spar, to fill gaps in its ranges it feared could have come about because of Brexit.

Sainsbury's was concerned that new checks on food products could have prevented goods like chilled meats and dairy products from making it into fridges in its 13 stores here.

In theory, grace periods for some foods and chilled meats were to resolve a lot of the problems for retailers in the short-term. Those grace periods were announced in December, but it's likely that Spar and Sainsbury's had reached their agreement some time before that.

QWill this be a permanent thing?

A The parties say it's temporary. There's no sign yet of other grocers like Tesco and Asda following suit. Restoring Sainsbury's usual range will take a lot of planning because of the new checks required, and which will be enforced after the end of the first grace period of three months for meat, dairy and egg products.

April 1 will be an important deadline for supermarkets and shoppers, even more important than the December 31 deadline when the transition period ended.

The grace period for chilled meat imports lasts six months.

Then retailers with local shops will have to source their sausages and other chilled meats from here or from the Republic.

Q It's one thing seeing Spar products in Sainsbury's, but why can't I get my Dunelm delivery?

A The protocol also means that senders of commercial goods to Northern Ireland from Britain must complete customs declarations.

Last week a three-month grace period for online shoppers and their parcels was announced, but they were already facing delays before that point, partly because of Christmas demand but mainly because of the prospect of changing requirements for sending goods.

Dunelm and John Lewis have said local deliveries will be delayed.

But TK Maxx has simply cancelled orders, while it emerged last night that Habitat had also stopped delivering to us.

Belfast Telegraph


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