Wednesday 18 March 2020 11:04 am

Coronavirus: Supermarkets ramp up measures to keep shelves stocked

Supermarkets have ramped up measures to keep shelves stocked amid panic buying and stockpiling during the coronavirus crisis. 

Tesco has reduced opening hours to allow staff more time to restock shelves and Waitrose has applied limits to some items.

This morning the Waitrose website is down as it has been unable to cope with the influx of visitors attempting to shop online.

“We’re experiencing a high volume of visitors to, and we are working hard to ensure customers can complete their online shopping with as few hitches as possible,” the company said. 

Last night Sainsbury’s introduced more stringent measures to prevent customers from stockpiling. 

Customers will now only be able to buy three of any grocery product, and will be limited to buying just two of the most popular items such toilet roll, soap and UHT milk.

In a letter to customers, chief executive Mike Coupe said the supermarket was implementing the “extra steps” in response to feedback from customers and staff.

He reassured customers that Sainsbury’s “has enough food coming into the system, but is limiting sales so that it stays on shelves for longer and can be bought by a larger numbers of customers”.

Aldi on Monday became the first UK grocer to introduce rationing, limiting customers to buying four items of any one product during each visit.

Whole Foods Market today joined the list of grocery stores which will open only to those over 70 for the first hour of shop trading, starting Thursday.