Tesco blocks bulk-buying of toilet roll and flour

Nigel Wright court case
Nigel Wright court case

Britain's biggest supermarket Tesco will prevent customers from bulk-buying flour, pasta, toilet roll and anti-bacterial wipes to prevent a re-run of the COVID-19 stockpiling that stripped shelves bare earlier this year.

British customers stocked up on long-life goods in March as the country entered a national lockdown, forcing many people to queue for hours or drive further than normal to find goods such as toilet roll, tinned fruit and rice. With COVID cases rising once again in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people to work from home if they can earlier this week, prompting Tesco to join smaller rival Morrisons in reimposing restrictions.

Both chains have also placed staff at the entrance to stores to ensure that face coverings are worn.

"We have good availability, with plenty of stock to go round, and we would encourage our customers to shop as normal," a spokeswoman said.

"To ensure that everyone can keep buying what they need, we have introduced bulk-buy limits on a small number of products."

Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Andrex toilet rolls and Kleenex wipes, said on Thursday it was seeing a moderate increase in the demand for Andrex toilet tissue, but that it had more than enough product to ensure a steady supply across the UK.

Other suppliers such as consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble and Reckitt Benckiser have said they are well prepared.

Earlier this week the bosses of both Tesco and Aldi , Britain's fifth largest player, said supplies were plentiful but called on shoppers to only buy what they need.

"We just don't want to see a return to unnecessary panic buying because that creates a tension in the supply chain that's not necessary," said Tesco Chief Executive Dave Lewis.