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UK supermarkets rationing certain goods because of Coronavirus

As Coronavirus fears prompt many to panic-buy, some supermarkets are limiting sales to customers.

1y ago

Anyone who's gone to buy pasta, chopped tomatoes or toilet roll recently will have noticed that the shelves are looking a little sparse. That's because many of us are stocking up in preparation for an isolation period, such as is now being imposed across Italy.

The BBC quotes a survey from Retail Economics, that suggests as many as one in 10 UK consumers is stockpiling, based on a sample of 2,000 shoppers.

To ensure this panic-buying doesn't leave some customers pasta-less – or worse still, tearing pages out of the newspaper in the morning – Tesco and Waitrose have been the first to announce quantity restrictions on highly desired products. Shoppers are limited to buying no more than five of certain goods, including antibacterial gels, wipes and sprays, dry pasta, UHT milk and some tinned vegetables.

Tesco is imposing these restrictions both in-store and online, whereas Waitrose is only imposing restrictions online. Boots and Asda are also imposing restrictions: hand sanitiser is limited to 2 bottles per person in both shops.

According to the BBC, UK retailers have been warned that they face prosecution if they exploit the Coronavirus scare to hike prices for products such as hand sanitisers and face masks. Hopefully, these limitations will stop the reselling of desired products online; anti-bacterial gels are being sold at enormous markups on Ebay.

Face masks are also being marked up significantly online, despite having little preventative effect.

Face masks are also being marked up significantly online, despite having little preventative effect.

Lidl 49p sanitisers selling for as much as £24.99 online; Morrison's £2 hand sanitiser is being sold for £29.99, and the 75p Tesco Health Antibacterial Hand Gel (50ml) is being sold for as much as £9 on eBay.

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Comments (1)

  • Makes sense to ration. However here the government has made it illegal to increase prices for anything essential such as face masks and sanitizers.

      1 year ago