Britain’s biggest supermarkets block bulk-buying key products as new coronavirus restrictions spark fears of shortages
The UK’s biggest supermarket chains Tesco, Aldi and Morrisons have set limits on bulk-buying of staples such as flour, pasta and toilet roll amid new government measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Tesco said on Friday it has “plenty of stock to go round,” encouraging customers “to shop as normal.”
However, the supermarket chain has introduced “bulk-buy limits” on a “small number of products,” a spokeswoman said, “to ensure that everyone can keep buying what they need.”
The statement came a day after Tesco’s major competitor, Morrisons, put a limit of three items per customer on some ranges, including toilet rolls and disinfectant products. The chain will also limit sales of flour, rice and oil sold in larger pack sizes.
“Our stock levels of these products are good but we want to ensure that they are available for everyone,” said a Morrisons spokesperson.
Morrisons as well as Asda have both stationed marshals at the entrance to their supermarkets in recent days to monitor shopper numbers and to ensure that face coverings are worn. Morrisons will be also reinstalling their indoor and outdoor queuing system across all stores to “allow customers to feel safe and confident when visiting the shop again.”
Earlier this week, the bosses of Tesco and Aldi, another large player in the UK, said the supplies were plentiful. However, they called on shoppers to only buy what they need. “We just don’t want to see a return to unnecessary panic buying because that creates a tension in the supply chain that’s not necessary,” Tesco Chief Executive Dave Lewis said.
PM Boris Johnson again urged people to work from home as coronavirus infections started to climb once more. Britain recorded its highest number of daily cases of Covid-19 on Thursday at 6,634, amid a much higher level of testing than during the first wave. The government estimates fewer than 10,000 people are becoming infected every day.
In March, when the first coronavirus lockdown was introduced in Britain, customers rushed to supermarkets to stockpile key goods, leading to shortages of household staples and queues at the cash counters.
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