Shoppers Urged Not To Panic

‘Don’t panic, Mister Mainwaring!’ was always what Corporal Jones would yell when he himself was panicked in the British comedy classic ‘Dads Army’, and it looks like the UK’s major supermarket chains are giving the same advice considering the government’s new lockdown laws this week.

Supermarket bosses have urged shoppers not to start panic buying, while Asda is bringing in 1,000 safety marshals, as the industry braces for a potential change in shopping habits ahead of new lockdown restrictions.

Asda has said it will be stationing safety marshals at store entrances where they would provide ready-sanitised baskets and trolleys to shoppers and remind them of government guidelines to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing while they shop. Those who turn up without a mask will be offered a pack of disposables that they can pay for with their shop.

While supermarkets say there are no signs of panic buying as yet, sales of toilet rolls soared by 23% over the past week, according to one supplier to major supermarkets, while shoppers have also been picking up extra tinned goods, pasta and pain relief tablets since the weekend.

Back in March, supermarkets were forced to take drastic action, including rationing products such as pasta, toilet roll and flour, after the arrival of coronavirus in Britain led to a wave of stockpiling.

With the industry eager to avoid a repeat this autumn, the British Retail Consortium has urged shoppers not to change their buying habits. Asda’s new marshals come after Morrison’s reinstated marshals on the doors of its 494 supermarkets, after a break of several months, to better monitor shopper numbers and remind those entering to wear face coverings.

While hopefully we won’t all be panicking as much as we did during the first lockdown (remember all the toilet paper hoarders?) we can all get prepared to tuck in again for another, yet less severe, isolation period. Considering how the last lockdown has already taken many scalps in the FMCG industry, we can only hope that this second one doesn’t do the same.