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UK supermarkets ration goods on panic-buying fear

Online customers also face limits

By AFP - Sep 26,2020 - Last updated at Sep 26,2020

A shopper browses an aisle for groceries at a Tesco Superstore in south London, on September 30, 2019 (AFP file photo)

LONDON — Two major British supermarkets said this week that they are rationing some products after new coronavirus restrictions to avoid panic buying seen at the start of the pandemic.

The country's biggest retailer Tesco revealed on Friday that is limiting certain items — including anti-bacterial wipes, baby wipes, flour, dried pasta and toilet roll — to three purchases per person. Online customers also face limits on rice and canned vegetables.

"We have good availability, with plenty of stock to go round, and we would encourage our customers to shop as normal," a Tesco spokesperson said.

"To ensure that everyone can keep buying what they need, we have introduced bulk-buy limits on a small number of products."

Rival supermarket Morrisons had also decided to introduce similar curbs on Thursday.

"We are introducing a limit on a small number of key products, such as toilet roll and disinfectant. Our stock levels of these products are good but we want to ensure that they are available for everyone," a Morrisons spokesperson said.

Industry body the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has meanwhile urged consumers to be considerate of others when shopping for food and other essential items.

"Supply chains are stronger than ever before and we do not anticipate any issues in the availability of food or other goods under a future lockdown," said Andrew Opie, BRC director of food and sustainability.

"Nonetheless, we urge consumers to be considerate of others and shop as they normally would."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday tightened restrictions to stem a surge of coronavirus cases, ordering pubs to close early and advising people to go back to working from home to prevent a second national lockdown.

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