CORONAVIRUS: Sainsbury's boss issues plea over panic buying

CORONAVIRUS: Sainsbury's boss issues plea over panic buying

Published by Mike Draper at 9:59am 15th March 2020. (Updated at 11:06am 15th March 2020)

4 minute read

Mike Coupe says the supermarkets have been much busier than usual, but is urging customers not to stockpile.

In an email to Sainsbury's customers, the CEO has been writing about the ongoing uncertainty around the full impact of coronavirus.

"I wanted to personally reassure you that we have more food and other essential items coming to us from manufacturers and into our warehouses and distribution centres. If we all shop just for the food that we and our families need, there will be enough for everyone."


Sainsburys in Salisbury with empty shelves and purchasing advice due to coronavirus
Sainsbury's in Salisbury has seen shelves stripped bare by panic buying due to coronavirus.

Sainsbury CEO, Mike Coupe also is trying to reassure people that Sainsbury's is working really hard to ensure this remains the case. Over the past two weeks the supermarket giant has:

  • Ordered more stock of essential items from its suppliers
  • Put more capacity into its warehouses and
  • Set limits on a small number of items, including some cleaning products, soap and pain relief. This is a precautionary measure - if everyone shops normally, there will be enough for everyone


Mike Coupe's message also says:

"There are gaps on shelves because of increased demand, but we have new stock arriving regularly and we're doing our best to keep shelves stocked. Our store colleagues are working tirelessly and doing the best job they can."

"Which brings me onto a request. Please think before you buy and only buy what you and your family need. If we all do this then we can make sure we have enough for everyone. And please help elderly and vulnerable friends, family and neighbours with their shopping if you can."

"I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and to thank our colleagues who are all working incredibly hard to ensure we can continue to serve our customers well."

Empty shelves Waitrose
THINK BEFORE YOU BUY: Empty shelves have been seen at almost all major supermarkets, like Waitrose in Salisbury.

Across the UK Britain's supermarkets are all urging the public to be considerate to others and stop panic buying as the number of UK coronavirus cases rises.


Empty shelves, especially in the loo roll and dried pasta aisles, have prompted a joint letter from British Retail Consortium (BRC) members urging consumers to work together to ensure there is enough food for the UK.

As further restrictions are placed on the public to stop the spread of COVID-19, retailers said they are working "round the clock" to help customers get the items they need.

The BRC letter says:

"We know that many of you are worried about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

"We want to let you know that we are doing everything we can so that you and your families have the food and essentials you need. But we need your help too. We would ask everyone to be considerate in the way they shop."

"We are in regular contact with the food industry and retailers are continuing to monitor their supply chains and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure consumers have the food and supplies they need."

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