Panic Buying Hits Supermarkets as Shelves Stripped of Essentials
As soon as it comes in, it goes out. This has been going on since December. Tracey May, manager at Costcutter
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January 10, 2010
UK Daily Mail
Supermarkets were stripped of essentials today as weathermen predicted further snow and a prolonged period of freezing weather.
Photo: Bare: Nearly-empty shelves at a Tesco store as shoppers fear running out of food
Bread, milk and salt to treat frozen pathways are among the item being swept from the shelves as customers stocked up.
Tesco in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, had several empty aisles today lunchtime, including most bread, toilet rolls and even frozen goods.
One shopper said: ‘Most of the bread had gone, in fact I’d say the selves were 90 per cent empty.
‘A lot of the freezers were empty too where people were buying frozen vegetables and chips - and the toilet roll section was empty as well.’ Many shops are ordering extra supplies to keep up with the demand, but several shelves are still being left bare by snow conscious consumers.
Some shops have even hit record sales targets - with goods flying out of stores in larger quantities than before Christmas.
Tracey May, manager at Costcutter in Exeter, was having to order supplies of salt directly from manufacturers but still couldn’t keep up with demand.
She said: ‘As soon as it comes in, it goes out. This has been going on since December.
‘It’s bread and milk that’s selling faster than anything else. The demand for them is really high.
‘Sales should be dropping now because it’s after Christmas - but we are actually experiencing record sales.’ A manager at Somerfield in Exeter said: ‘We ran out of salt about two weeks ago. It’s been coming in sporadically but supplies are quite low.
‘This traditionally happens every winter, but with the prolonged cold snap it’s worse than normal.
‘We’re also short of milk. The problem is people panic. If they can eat two loaves of bread, people buy five. They just need to buy enough to go round.’ Matt Crome, store manager at a Spar in Exeter, said a delivery of salt came in over the weekend.
He said: ‘We haven’t been able to get hold of it for some time, since the cold snap first kicked off. I believe people are using it to salt their paths.
‘We have actually had a delivery now, so it’s back in stock.’ Matt Godwin, manager of the Sainsbury’s store in Exeter, said: ‘We’re struggling a bit on salt as people are coming in and buying that, but generally supplies are very good.’ A manager at Morrisons in Plymouth said: ‘With salt, everyone’s got a supply problem, and I have to admit we’re in the same situation.
‘Generally, customers are tending to panic-buy a bit, but supplies of most things are fine.’ Darren Scott, a manager at the Co-op in Heavitree, said lots of customers were buying salt, but deliveries had not been affected.
He said: ‘They are getting the milk and bread in. It’s just the panic-buying that’s making our supplies lower than normal.’