Retailers Across Europe Take Steps To Assure Shoppers Of Ample Supplies
Retailers across the continent have issued statements to assure shoppers that their stores are well-stocked, amidst an increase in 'panic buying' due to coronavirus fears.
Here's a snapshot of the actions taking place across Europe.
In Germany, REWE Group said that it had seen 'increased demand' for long-lasting foods such as pasta and rice, as well as canned goods and drugstore items, adding that its employees are working with the 'utmost dedication' to plug any gaps.
'We are well prepared for this increased demand,' the retailer said. 'We have increased deliveries; our branches and markets are well stocked and will remain so.
'We ask all customers to distribute their purchases over other days of the week - there is no need now, in addition to the usual recommended amount, to stock up in large quantities.'
In the Netherlands, meanwhile, Albert Heijn published a letter by CEO Marit van Egmond in a number of national newspapers at the weekend, again assuring shoppers that its distribution centres are full, and it is 'working hard' to keep stores well-stocked.
'You can help us by doing your shopping as you normally do,' she wrote.
The retailer added that it will be placing online orders at its shoppers' front door for the time being, rather than bring them into the kitchen, in order to limit personal contact.
Musgrave Group issued a statement last Thursday noting that it was experiencing 'high volumes of demand', adding that there was no need for shoppers to engage in panic buying.
"Panic buying is an inconvenience to other customers, so we would reiterate the call to remain calm," said chief executive Noel Keeley. "We continue to work to maximise availability and are working with suppliers to keep products flowing through the system."
Spar Austria issued a statement to deny false reports on Facebook and WhatsApp that its stores would be closing, saying that all Spar, Eurospar and Interspar outlets will remain open.
Also citing increased trade in pasta, rice, canned goods, hygiene products and fresh vegetables, the retailer appealed to consumers ' to go shopping in a prudent and normal manner. This is the only way to ensure that the shelves can be refilled accordingly'.
In Denmark, Coop issued a statement that noted that Danish shoppers hadn't resorted to panic buying to the same level as other countries, however it said that there were some 'limited fluctuations' in product quantities, and that it was working to ensure supplies were maintained.
'This is why Salling Group, Coop, Dagrofa and Rema 1000 encourage customers to go shopping as they usually do,' it said. 'This way, there will be enough for everyone.'
Elsewhere, fuel retailer Circle K has introduced a new directive that ensures that even if it is required to close its stores, its fuel pumps will remain open for shoppers.
“We are well prepared and there is fuel for everyone," said the group's energy and fuel director Peter Rasmussen. 'There is no need to change behaviour in any way, and we work closely with the suppliers to ensure that access to fuel remains.'
Carrefour Poland said that it was temporarily suspending the purchase of products in bulk at its stores, instead offering 'bulk' products in defined packaging.
It is also undertaking regular disinfection of trolleys, cash registers and weighing scales, it said, and is also suspending consumers' ability to purchase coffee in their own mug at its Smacznie bistro outlets.
In Latvia, Maxima Latvija said that it is 'continuing to closely monitor' changes in the demand for certain products, and that it has increased supply volumes for certain product groups, including buckwheat, pasta, canned goods, household chemicals and hygiene products.
"At the beginning of the year, when concerns about the global spread of the virus were raised, we started emergency preparedness by securing additional supplies and negotiating larger orders with suppliers," commented Edvins Lakstigala, director of Maxima Latvija's purchasing department.
The retailer has also cut back its promotional activities to reduce crowding in stores, and is undertaking additional preventative measures, including thorough disinfectant of all surfaces, the cancelling of all business trips, and the supply of ginger, honey and lemon to all staff.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.