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Morrison & # 39; s is the first supermarket to limit the number of items customers can buy


Morrison & # 39; s is the first supermarket to cut back on the number of items customers can buy for fear of repeating the panic in stores at the start of the pandemic.

Bosses have introduced curbs for toilet rolls and hand gel, with shortages reported in stores across the country as the UK prepares for a second wave of coronavirus.

The shelves were emptied following Boris Johnson's address to the nation Tuesday night in which he introduced a series of new restrictions that could last up to six months.

With concerns growing, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) urged customers to be considerate of others and "shop as usual".

Some of the supermarket giants have insisted that they be well stocked and not have to limit how much of a particular product shoppers can buy.

However, Morrison & # 39; s is taking steps to avoid the chaotic scenes earlier this year where shoppers stacked carts full of precious goods in case it became difficult to leave the house and withheld essentials from many others.

MORRISON & # 39; S: The shelves of the Leiciester supermarket are empty today as fears mount. Britain faces a second national lockdown with the prospect of food shortages

TESCO: There is a sign on the shelves of a store in Ely, Cambs, telling customers that they can only buy one pack of rolls

TESCO: There is a sign on the shelves of a store in Ely, Cambs today telling customers that they can only buy one pack of rolls

The graph above shows the breakdown of British spending in supermarkets when panic buying started in March

The graph above shows the breakdown of British spending in supermarkets when panic buying started in March

What changes are being introduced in supermarkets following PM's recent statement?

On Monday, Boris Johnson announced that face masks will be mandatory for shop workers, while fines for not wearing masks will rise to £ 200.

Asda has announced that it will be introducing 1,000 new Covid-19 marshals on the doors of its supermarkets to ensure customers are wearing the masks properly.

Morrisons also said it has reinstated guards to save entrances to ensure rules are enforced.

Despite the new announcement, most of the health and safety measures in supermarkets have remained the same.

Measures at Sainsbury & # 39; s and Tesco are believed to have remained largely unchanged from the last few months. The staff ensure that the number of shoppers in the stores is limited and that people queue outside according to the distancing rules.

A spokesman told The Grocer: “We are putting a limit on a small number of important products like toilet paper and disinfectants. Our stocks of these products are good, but we want to make sure they are available to everyone. & # 39;

Sainsbury & # 39; s introduced a purchase cap on certain items this year, but today MailOnline announced that there are currently no such restrictions.

A Waitrose spokeswoman also said: “We're not doing that at the moment. We're keeping a good level across all major product areas, and we've also looked at the items people bought and planned ahead of time when the lockdown started. & # 39;

Meanwhile, Tesco CEO Dave Lewis told Sky News earlier this week that the grocer has "very good food supplies".

He said, “We just don't want a return to unnecessary panic buying as it creates tension in the supply chain that is not necessary. And that's why we just want to encourage customers to continue shopping as usual. & # 39;

The UK's largest grocery chains put in place health and safety measures to cope with the pandemic earlier this year as their essential status meant that stores remained open, although some restrictions have been eased in recent months.

Stores were among the main beneficiaries when lockdown restrictions were first introduced, and demand for online purchases rose in March when shoppers were encouraged to stay home. As a result, grocers quickly expanded their online activities.

The supermarkets said the expansion allowed them to cope with higher demand as restrictions tighten again.

Online retailer Ocado's shares have risen over the past week on surging demand as industry analysts reported high booking numbers for online shopping slots.

Wholesale Costco was inundated with shoppers this week with stores in Leeds, London and Manchester seeing increases in visitor numbers.

Many stores had to put up barriers to regulate the growing queues, and shoppers went with overcrowded trollies to stock up on supplies.

When customers flooded social media with pictures of empty aisles, one shopper declared, "It's happening again."

More empty spaces at Tesco supermarket in Ely, Cambridgeshire, where toilet rolls are limited to one pack per customer, as demand has increased amid lockdown fears

More empty spaces at Tesco supermarket in Ely, Cambridgeshire, where toilet rolls are limited to one pack per customer, as demand has increased amid lockdown fears

Products have blown off the shelves at this Sainsbury's store in Taplow, Buckinghamshire

Products have blown off the shelves at this Sainsbury's store in Taplow, Buckinghamshire

How will the impact of tighter restrictions differ from March?

The restrictions have been tightened in the last few days, but remain much looser than at the beginning of the pandemic, so that shopping habits can more easily be continued as usual.

However, supermarkets are prepared for even tighter restrictions after strengthening supply chains in the face of the pandemic.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at BRC, said retailers will remain a "safe place" even if further lockdown measures are enforced.

"The supply chains are stronger than ever and we don't expect any issues with the availability of food or other goods in a future lockdown," he added.

Online operations are also better able to cope with the surge in demand. Most major grocers have more than doubled delivery capacity since March.

Giles Hurley, the CEO of Aldi UK, the UK's fifth largest supermarket group, emailed customers Tuesday to reassure them about Mr Johnson's address.

& # 39; Our stores continue to be full and ask that you continue to shop considerately. You don't have to buy more than you normally would, ”he said.

Analysts are skeptical that another round of panic buying will occur and also believe that supermarkets are much better prepared for a possible surge in demand.

"We believe the public has more confidence in their food system," said Shore Capital analyst Clive Black.

However, analysts expect a boon to supermarket trading due to the new restrictions on the UK hotel industry.

Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: "We urge consumers to be considerate of others and shop as they normally do."

He downplayed the existence of panic buying and recognized the "excellent work" retailers did in providing food during the pandemic.

He reassured the public, adding, "Supply chains are stronger than ever and we do not expect any issues with the availability of food or other goods in a future lockdown."

But supermarkets are increasing security at their doors and have doubled the number of delivery places.

Meanwhile, Asda has announced 1,000 new security marshals to help enforce government wear and face mask recommendations and will be giving refurbished baskets and trolleys to customers upon entering the store.

Morrisons also said it has reinstated guards to save entrances to ensure rules are enforced.

However, most of the health and safety measures in supermarkets have remained the same despite the new announcement.

Measures at Sainsbury & # 39; s and Tesco are believed to have remained largely unchanged from the last few months. The staff ensure that the number of shoppers in the stores is limited and that people queue outside according to the distancing rules.

Earlier this week, long lines also formed at Costco in Chingford, north London, with special barriers being erected in a zigzag formation to control the growing crowd

Earlier this week, long lines also formed at Costco in Chingford, north London, with special barriers being erected in a zigzag formation to control the growing crowd

Costco wholesale stores across the UK saw a surge in shoppers this week, creating long lines (Image: Costco store, Leeds).

Costco wholesale stores across the UK saw a surge in shoppers this week, creating long lines (Image: Costco store, Leeds).

On Monday, the Prime Minister also introduced a 10 p.m. curfew on bars, pubs and restaurants.

The curfew does not affect supermarkets or convenience stores.

However, some analysts have suggested that the move – and another potential drop in commuter numbers after people were asked to work from home – could boost demand at the supermarket as the measures affect eating habits.

Shore Capital's Clive Black and Darren Shirley said the new guidelines could "step backwards" in restoring food-to-go specialists in what would prove to be a "hammer blow" to Greggs and Pret A Manger.

They said "the demand for retail grocery stores is likely to rise again" as more meals are eaten at home.

Tesco and Asda were asked to comment on the shopping limits.

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