Long queues were seen outside the Makro in Springfield Park in Durban on Tuesday as people flocked to stock up ahead of the lockdown on Thursday. Picutre: Leon Lestrade / African News Agency / ANA
Long queues were seen outside the Makro in Springfield Park in Durban on Tuesday as people flocked to stock up ahead of the lockdown on Thursday. Picutre: Leon Lestrade / African News Agency / ANA

Don't panic buy! Shops are well prepared and well stocked, say retailers

By Winston Mfeka and Mphathi Nxumalo Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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Durban - South Africa’s biggest supermarket chains were prepared for the mass panic buying that consumers were expected to embark on after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a total shutdown of the country on Monday night.

The chains said they had strategies in place to ensure people had sufficient goods during the lockdown.

In the past few weeks, retailers have had to contend with panic-buyers who have stockpiled goods such as toilet paper and tinned food.

A Woolworths spokesperson said: “We are working to meet the increase in demand. In order to ensure enough products for everyone, we have set a limit of five units per product per customer. We will continue to replenish products regularly. We would like to assure our customers that we are working with our suppliers to ensure consistent supply of our products so that everyone has access to the food and essentials they need.”

Pick * Pay said: “We are reassuring customers that there is no reason to stock up beyond their normal shopping. We have a very good contingency plan, with great local suppliers, a strong supply chain network and effective measures to keep our stores hygienic, open for business and well-stocked.”

Pick * Pay would also impose limits on purchases of high-demand goods. Limits would be revised on a daily basis as they received supplies.

The Shoprite Group said it was prepared to be stocked up until the pandemic came to an end. It said it would ensure that high hygiene standards were maintained and encouraged customers to practise social distancing.

“The group appeals to senior citizens to shop outside of peak times (early mornings and late afternoons) and when stores are quieter, to minimise exposure. Special till points have been allocated to prioritise speedy checkouts for elderly and vulnerable people, including those with disabilities,” the organisation said.

The National Credit Regulator chief executive, Nomsa Motshegare, said: “Buying under panic and anxiety has the potential for consumers to buy things they don’t need and can’t afford.

“For some consumers to acquire these items, they resort to using credit and this could be detrimental to their overall financial health. It is important for consumers to remember that credit comes at a cost and that the credit acquired has to be repaid.”

She advised consumers to ensure they paid off their debts and consult a debt counsellor if they felt overwhelmed.

Daily News

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