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Supermarkets consider product limits as panic buying empties shelves

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Dozens of supermarkets will consider limiting the number of products a customer can buy as they react to a sharp increase in panic buying.

Australians have begun stockpiling food and other essential products, leaving supermarket shelves empty across the country as coronavirus fears escalate.

Both Woolworths and Coles have said, in separate statements, they’re working to restock sold out products. (See statements below)

Ritchies Supa IGA, which owns 70 supermarkets across NSW, Queensland and Victoria, will look at imposing limits on items.

CEO Fred Harrison tells Deborah Knight the current panic buying is unnecessary.

“It’s not required, there are adequate stock supplies in Australia at present.

“But if people are going to buy five months of products it is going to put [stock] in jeopardy in the next couple of weeks.”

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Full statement from Woolworths:

“We’ve seen a sharp increase in demand for long life pantry items and household staples in recent days, which has led to partial stock shortages across some of our stores.

“Our teams have been working hard to replenish these products as quickly as possible.

“We have good stock levels to draw on in our distribution centres and will continue working closely with our suppliers to maintain supply.

“We apologise to customers for the inconvenience and thank them for their patience.”

Full statement from Coles:

“Coles has increased the number of deliveries to stores this week to improve availability on popular products, such as long-life pantry staples and healthcare items.

“Like many retailers, we currently have a shortage of some antibacterial handwashes and hand sanitiser products due to high customer demand.

“We are continuing to work with our suppliers to maintain availability for customers.”