If you’ve been shopping in the past few days, you may have had trouble finding pasta, rice, soap, or even toilet paper. For fear of confinement because of the coronavirus epidemic, some supermarkets and hypermarkets have indeed seen their shelves robbed, especially on Saturday, as evidenced by several photos posted on social networks this weekend.
“There has indeed been a surge in sales of certain products on Saturday, of the order of 30%, for rice, pasta, oil,” said Jacques Creyssel, general delegate of the FCD (Federation of Commerce and distribution).
Certain areas were more affected than others, notably in the Oise where a Super U store around Compiègne noted a surge in sales of 150%. The Auchans in Vélizy, Bagnolet and those in the Lille metropolitan area were also faced with a buying spree causing a shortage – occasionally – of certain products while orders on the Internet exploded.
Attendance up sharply in places
Some Auchan Drive or Chronodrive, especially in the Oise, have seen their attendance increase by 50 to 100% in recent days. That of Vélizy (Yvelines) had received as many orders on Saturday at 10 a.m. as on a day, a seller told a client. In all of these stores, Système U also noted a surge in drives from 35% to 40%, in volume as in value.
And on Monday, shelves were still empty in some supermarkets while products – mainly pasta and rice – were still advertised as “unavailable” on the sites of drives.
But do not worry, assure distributors in chorus. “The brands had been preparing by placing large orders in recent days, and therefore stocks are there,” says Jacques Creyssel.
At Auchan, we are assured that we have increased the quantities of essential products in warehouses by 25 to 50% over the past ten days. “We anticipated this frenzy over the length, but not that it was going to focus on one day. However, you can not move goods from one hour to the next from the warehouse to the stores, “said the spokesperson to explain the breaks in the weekend.
Some customers have stocked for three months
“The psychosis faced with the coronavirus has self-nourished. Some customers wanted to stock up on quantities by filling their cart with several packages of pasta and rice, which ultimately led others to do the same… ”laments one brand.
David, 37, father of two, including a nine-month-old baby, filled up on “how to last two or three weeks if necessary”, explains this telecommunications engineer who can now count on 3 kg of infant milk or still on 5 kg of pasta, as much rice and ten boxes of converse. “Around me, some of my colleagues have built up to three months of stock,” he says. Not to mention that at the beginning of the month, many had just been paid and “took the opportunity to buy a little more,” adds the spokesperson for Système U.
“So don’t worry consumers. The only real shortage observed in recent days is that of hydroalcoholic gels, “says Jacques Creyssel. “There is no shortage, and talking about a shortage is the best way to have it, also recalls System U. If people do not panic, there will be no concern for supply. Especially since consumers who have already stocked up have no reason to devalue the pasta or rice department again.