Johannesburg – Major retailers Clicks, Pick’n Pay, and the Shoprite Group have urged South Africans not to panic buy.
Items such as canned food, pasta, and toilet paper are suddenly in hot demand, and retailers all over the country have reported difficulty keeping up with a sudden surge as South Africans seek to stockpile.
Hygiene products have been flying off the shelves since Covid-19 was first detected in South Africa. This week also saw a rush on canned food, pasta, and toilet paper, after President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the outbreak a national disaster.
But the retailers say they have plenty of stock and fully functional logistics systems, with no reason to believe there will be shortages.
“We would like to encourage customers to continue shopping responsibly,” said a spokesperson.
The retailer says where stock is temporarily low due to heavy demand; it will limit the number of products per customer. Any such limits will be announced online, and via signs in stores.
Pick’n Pay also committed not to increase prices of key products just because they are in demand.
The Shoprite Group appeals to customers to only buy what they need.
Shoprite Group CEO Pieter Engelbrecht said: “The gaps which are now evident on our shelves and those of other supermarkets are because of the unprecedented demand as a result of fear over the effect of the coronavirus, but we have new stock arriving regularly and we are working around the clock to keep shelves stocked.”
A special Shoprite Group executive level task committee is seeing increased demand for sanitary, hygiene and baby products, dry pasta, UHT milk and some tinned vegetables.
The retailer said it has increased orders and sourcing new and additional suppliers to replenish store shelves.
“I appeal to our customers to please think before they buy, and only buy what their families need, so that others are not left without much-needed items. If we all shop as we normally do, our stores will soon return to normal and there will not be empty shelves,” Engelbrecht said.
Clicks says that it has seen an unprecedented and sustained customer demand across many health and hygiene categories.
Clicks chief commercial officer Rachel Wrigglesworth said they have increased orders across all in-demand categories, and are working with suppliers to ensure that stock gets to store as quickly as possible.
“Clicks will continue to hold prices on all hygiene products as our way of supporting our customers during these extraordinary times,” Wrigglesworth said. Business Insider