// Sainsbury’s to ration all grocery products amid coronavirus outbreak
// The grocer has shut all cafes and fresh food counters
Sainsbury’s has said it will restrict purchases on all grocery products as well as shut cafes and fresh food counters in a bid to combat panic buying linked to the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier today, chief executive Mike Coupe told customers in a letter that they will now only be able to buy a maximum of three of any product, while a cap of two goes for some of the most popular items, such as toilet roll and soap.
The move comes after UK grocers urged households to refrain from stockpiling after worries about the pandemic prompted heavy demand for products.
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“We have enough food coming into the system, but are limiting sales so that it stays on shelves for longer and can be bought by a larger numbers of customers,” Coupe said.
Meat, fish and pizza counters and cafes are being closed from Thursday to free up lorry and warehouse capacity, as well as shelf-stacking time.
Sainsbury’s will also help elderly and vulnerable customers as well as ramp up its online click and collect offer.
The Big 4 retailer is not the first grocer to introduce rationing, with Aldi being the first to do so on all product lines earlier this week.
In a letter written to all suppliers and signed by Aldi UK chief executive Giles Hurley, the discount grocer said “demand in certain categories remains very high” and added that it was “currently limiting customers to four items of each SKU per visit”.
Tesco was the first to begin rationing certain products two weeks ago, such as dried pasta and canned vegetables.
Nearly all of the grocers have since been rationing sales of items such as toilet paper, hand sanitiser and household cleaning products.
Meanwhile, Tesco said on Tuesday it would close 24-hour stores between 10pm and 6am was “to ensure we can serve customers better at this time”.
Morrisons planned to hire 3500 more workers as it expands online delivery services to help it meet demand.