Businesses say they are already stocked up for Christmas as the second wave of strikes begins at the Port of Felixstowe.

Fears were voiced that supply chain disruption could lead to stock shortages during the coming winter months.

However, businesses say they have prepared for the eight-day industrial action by taking extra precautionary measures.

John Lewis, which imports a lot of goods through Felixstowe, said the company took proactive steps prior to the strike in a bid to limit its impact – including redirecting stock to alternative ports.

Christmas products were imported into the UK earlier in the year and average stock levels are 70% higher than last year, bosses said.

The department store will continue to monitor the situation with its logistics provider to ensure products are available in the run-up to and during Christmas.

More than 1,900 members of Unite the Union walked out last month in the first bout of industrial action to hit the Suffolk port since 1989.

However, the strikes were believed to have caused minimal damage to supply chains as a result of many industries not yet being at full capacity.

With Christmas now on the horizon, many feared a second round could cause greater damage.

"The impact should only be minimal," said Dan Lovett of The Toy Box in Beccles.

"Most shops – including us – are ahead by around six months so Christmas is done.

"The only major thing that comes through the port for us is Lego, but fingers crossed we should be okay."

The strikes will get underway at 7am on Tuesday, September 27.

The action is part of an ongoing pay dispute which sees union members holding out for a 10% pay rise.

So far, the port has offered 7% plus £500 which is backdated to January 1 2022.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said Felixstowe and its owner, CK Hutchison, are “eye-wateringly wealthy”, adding: “Rather than offer a fair pay offer, they have instead attempted to impose a real-terms pay cut on their workers.

“Since the beginning of this dispute Unite has given its total support to its members at Felixstowe and that will continue until this dispute is resolved.”

A statement on the Port's website reads: "We are very disappointed that Unite has announced this further strike action at this time.

"The collective bargaining process has been exhausted and there is no prospect of agreement being reached with the union.

The port is in the process of implementing the 2022 pay award of 7% plus £500 which is backdated to 1 January 2022."