Britain’s biggest supermarket, Tesco, can keep shelves stocked and withstand shopper hoarding over coronavirus that has seen runs on pasta, hand sanitizer and toilet roll, its chairman said on Thursday.
Social media has been awash this week with pictures of empty shelves in Britain’s major supermarkets, with items like dried pasta and toilet rolls particularly sought after, Reuters reported. And on Friday, a report in the BBC reported that panic buying was even causing a shortage at food banks, including The North Paddington Foodbank (NPF) in London, which reported its donations were down by 25%.
But John Allan said that although Tesco’s recent trading had been characterized by heavy buying of certain products, including tissues and hand sanitizers, it was not at a level that threatened the retailer’s supply chain.
“There’s plenty of product in the supply chain, there’s plenty of food at Tesco and other supermarkets, and I don’t think anybody needs to panic buy,” he told BBC radio. “We, and I’m sure our competitors, are re-filling our supply chains as rapidly as ever we can.”
Allan said it was unlikely Tesco, which has a 27.2% UK grocery market share, would experience anything more than “very short term, temporary” shortages of certain products.
Supermarket industry sources said trading in the last week had been strong, with daily levels of up to 70% of those typically seen on days in the run-up to Christmas, the busiest time of the year.
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