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British supermarkets' plea to shoppers: stop panic buying

Stock MarketsMar 15, 2020 11:35AM ET
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© Reuters. Empty shelves of toilet paper are seen are seen at a supermarket in London

By James Davey

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's food retailers appealed to shoppers on Sunday to stop panic buying during the coronavirus outbreak, saying purchasing more than they need would mean others will be left without.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents supermarket groups, said retailers had come together to write to their customers, calling on them to be considerate in the way they shop.

The letter, signed by Tesco (L:TSCO), Sainsbury's (L:SBRY), Asda (N:WMT), Morrisons (L:MRW), Aldi, Lidl, Coop, Waitrose, M&S (L:MKS), Iceland, Ocado (L:OCDO) and Costcutter, was published in adverts in national newspapers on Sunday. 

"We understand your concerns but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without. There is enough for everyone if we all work together," the letter said.

Social media has been awash over the last week with pictures of empty shelves in Britain's major supermarkets, with items like dried pasta, toilet rolls and canned food particularly sought after.

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government was confident that food supplies were secure, but everybody had to act responsibly as part of a national effort.

"If you are buying food for instance and loo roll you buy what you need, because there's an impact on others," he told BBC's Andrew Marr program on Sunday.

Trading in British supermarkets has been intense, with some shop bosses saying it can only be compared to the pre-Christmas rush.

Anecdotal evidence suggested activity had stepped-up further since Thursday when Prime Minister Boris Johnson said those showing even mild symptoms of having the virus should self-isolate for at least seven days.

As of Saturday, 21 people had died after testing positive for COVID-19 in Britain, health authorities said.

The food retailers said in the letter they were working closely with government and suppliers to keep food moving quickly through the system and making more deliveries to stores to ensure shelves were stocked.

They also said retailers with online delivery and click-and-collect services were running at full capacity.

Tesco Chairman John Allan said on Thursday it was unlikely the retailer, which has a 27.2% share of the British grocery market, would experience anything worse than "very short term, temporary" shortages of certain products.

British supermarkets' plea to shoppers: stop panic buying
 

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Comments (6)
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Mar 15, 2020 11:35AM ET
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People are acting like animal when panic. The media,social media r doing this for money.
jemin An
jemin An Mar 15, 2020 11:35AM ET
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Sorry, but people are doing their best cause feel government can't protect them properly like the other countries. It's natural behavior.
jemin An
jemin An Mar 15, 2020 8:39AM ET
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Chaos will hit the UK the most brutally cause of government's unpreparation
Karol Elyuth Peña Xelhuantzi
Karol Elyuth Peña Xelhuantzi Mar 14, 2020 10:21PM ET
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Ya valio barriga señor verga!
Hans Billings
Hans Billings Mar 14, 2020 10:12PM ET
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US supermarkets message to shoppers- Crickets. 'Merica!
db cooper
db cooper Mar 14, 2020 9:39PM ET
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The media circus regarding corona virus will soon be over..........they are milking it for all they can get, but I see that APPLE has now announced they are re-opening ALL of their stores in CHINA, because the number of new corona virus cases has dropped so sharply that it is no longer considered to be an emergency health threat........... SO WHY IS THE MEDIA NOT WIDELY PUBLICISING THAT NEWS...?? Simple answer: It does not add to mass hysteria --  which is clearly what they want.
Jaydeep Sisodia
Jaydeep Sisodia Mar 14, 2020 9:39PM ET
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this is emergency, world to be end
bolt man
bolt man Mar 14, 2020 9:39PM ET
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you actually believe Chinese state media that it has slowed down? I wouldnt trust any media let alone Chinese state media
Million Dollar
Million Dollar Mar 14, 2020 9:39PM ET
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They are disgusting. This will soon be over. Hopefully italy is now at peak and in a week its also done with.
David David
David9 Mar 14, 2020 8:52PM ET
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We don't need to know some supermarket news in Britain here. Stop trying to panic people here Fake News. Calm the headlines down a bit. Please focus on some good news.
Tobias Cromnow
Youcandothis Mar 14, 2020 8:52PM ET
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This is not a panic article.
db cooper
db cooper Mar 14, 2020 8:52PM ET
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Totally agree.
Chase Siegel
Chase Siegel Mar 14, 2020 8:52PM ET
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I suggest you get a few things you might need, stores are empty in WA.
 
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