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In order to prevent the panic buying and stockpiling of goods that occurred at the onset of the pandemic in March, many stores are taking preventive steps.
Starting Monday, Kroger will enforce limits on key items like bath tissue, paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand soap.
“To ensure all customers have access to what they need, we’ve proactively and temporarily set purchase limits to two per customer on certain products,” a Kroger spokesperson said in a statement to FOX Business.
The limits will apply in-store, as well as to e-commerce orders.
Kroger is not the first to signal the prospect of hoarding during the fall and winter, especially as more consumers rush to replenish their original essentials stockpiled during global lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.
Last week, Publix implemented customer purchase limits on paper towels and bath tissue due to much higher customer demand. Like many other retailers, the chain is on allocation from other supplies and stained by its supply chains. Restrictions on quantity are based on individual stores, however.
Many other grocery chains are enacting new measures to keep its supplies afloat, as well.
Harris Teeter is putting limit signs on certain items in its cleaning section.
“We’ll continue to monitor the situation, and if we see a need, we may re-introduce limits to other items,” a Harris Teeter spokesperson told Fox Business.
Around 16% of household cleaning products have remained out of stock across all retail industries in November, a report from market research firm IRI shows. At the same time, 20% of paper products were out of stock during the week ending on November 8, dipping 2 percentage points from the average supply from the previous weeks. Household plastics and storage also remained low in supply over the past month, with an average of 21% of products out of stock.
The industry-wide decisions to roll back the number of certain items consumers can purchase comes as coronavirus infections top 10 million across the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, the number of reported deaths has also ticked up, with more than 1,000 deaths reported on Saturday for the fifth day in a row, a trend that is reemerging from August.
While grocery stores take action to mitigate another empty shelf crisis, consumers are also responding. A new survey from Inmar Intelligence shows that roughly 57% of shoppers are considering restocking in fear of a “potential second wave of COVID-19” and the consequent vacant grocery store shelves.