Will shops run out of items again? Report warns of ‘spates of hoarding’ in ...

CORONAVIRUS concerns have led British supermarkets such as Tesco and Morrisons to reintroduce limits on certain items - but the measures may be ineffective at preventing shortages, a new report has shown.

PUBLISHED: 04:38, Sun, Oct 25, 2020 | UPDATED: 04:38, Sun, Oct 25, 2020

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It comes after pictures of empty shelves and high demand for key essentials dominated headlines in the run-up to the UK’s first national lockdown in March. Now, a new report has given fresh insight into the spending habits of Britons around that time, as well as how effective UK supermarkets were at managing item shortages.


The report reveals the current measures of putting a limit on how many items people can buy in one go is not likely to work, and warns “further spates of hoarding could still occur”.

It states that although there were stories of people hoarding large amounts of certain items, most of the demand was because more households were choosing “storable products” than they usually would do.

The report adds: “Temporary limits on the number of units per transaction, introduced following the demand spike, are therefore unlikely to lead to the avoidance of stock-outs.”

Empty supermarket shelvesSupermarkets ran out of some essential items in March this year (Image: Dan Kitwood / Getty)

Dr Martin O’Connell, Deputy Research Director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, is an author behind the report, titled ‘Preparing for a pandemic: spending dynamics and panic buying during the COVID-19 first wave’.

He told Express.co.uk: “Whether any panic buying leads to shortages will depend on whether supermarkets have spent the period of relative calm over the summer improving the resilience of their supply chains.”

The researcher also said the new system of regional lockdowns as opposed to national ones may bring about more localised shortages.

READ: Where to buy a poppy ahead of Remembrance Day - advice issued during coronavirus pandemic

Supermarket UKThe report found limits on items will not necessarily prevent shortages (Image: Naomi Baker / Getty)

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