Some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets have urged customers not to panic buy in response to reports of emptying shelves, saying they are “continuing to receive regular deliveries”.
The supermarkets have described any shortages across their stores as “patchy” but said there was no need for customers to change their shopping habits.
They said any gaps on the shelves were temporary as they awaited deliveries, and were occurring in pockets rather than across supply chains.
The news follows the “pingdemic” affecting the industry, with the shortage of HGV drivers and the hot weather all contributing to delivery glitches.
However, the grocers stressed to consumers that panic buying would create a problem that did not exist.
“We are sorry that we are running low on some products. Like many retailers, we are impacted by some patchy disruption to our deliveries and store operations but we are working closely with our suppliers to get re-stocked quickly,” a Co-op spokesman said.
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman added: “We are working hard to ensure customers can find what they need.
“While we might not always have the exact product a customer is looking for in every store, large quantities of products are being delivered to stores daily and our colleagues are focused on getting them onto the shelves as quickly as they can.”
However, Iceland managing director Richard Walker has said staff absence rates are now double the usual number, with the figure rising 50 per cent “week on week” due to people being told to self-isolate by the NHS app.
Walker told the Radio 4’s Today Programme: “We’ve now got over 1,000 staff off, who’ve been pinged. That’s double the normal rates, and it’s rising at 50% week on week.
“Our big concern is that we’ve kept all of our shops open throughout the pandemic, but now we have had to close one or two shops and reduce hours in others.
“But that could get a lot worse a lot quicker unless the country’s system is sorted out.”
Walker also urged shoppers not to panic buy.
He said: “There is certainly no problem with supply of stock.
“Panic-buying is only an option for those who can afford it and it often means that others go without.”
with PA Wires