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Asda boss urges customers to shop responsibly and not to panic-buy

Written by on 6 January 2021

Asda has urged customers to “shop considerately and not buy more than they normally would” after the latest lockdowns were announced.

Britain’s third biggest supermarket said it “currently has strong product availability” across stores and depots and its colleagues are working around the clock to keep the shelves stocked”.

It added that to help those shielding or otherwise unable to visit stores it was stepping up its online capacity and doubling the size of its delivery partnership with Uber Eats over the coming weeks.

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Supermarkets have remained open during lockdowns

Home shopping slots have risen by 90% since March to 850,000 a week and are expected to rise to 900,000 by the start of April, Asda said.

There will also now be more COVID marshals on duty at the front of stores and increased cleaning of basket and trolley handles as well as automatic counting technology in the busiest stores to control access and maintain social distancing.

Chief executive Roger Burnley said: “As COVID restrictions are tightened across the UK to protect our health, we will continue to do all we can to keep colleagues and customers safe in store as we have since the start of the pandemic.

“Our stores and distribution centres have proved to be highly resilient to the challenges of a national lockdown and we are confident that we can continue to deliver choice and value for customers in the weeks ahead.

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“We are asking customers can play their part too by continuing to shop considerately and respecting social distancing when they visit our stores.”

The call to shop responsibly comes after rival Tesco said in December that it was limiting purchases on toilet roll, hand wash, rice and eggs amid record pre-Christmas demand.

Empty shelves in the pasta aisle of Tesco on Sunday
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Panic-buying took place in March

Last year at the start of the pandemic shelves were stripped bare as customers stocked up on products such as toilet rolls and pasta.

As restrictions were tightened again in the autumn, shoppers were urged not to return to panic-buying by then Tesco boss Dave Lewis.

Industry figures released this week showed supermarkets enjoyed their biggest month on record in December, with GBP11.7bn in sales at a time of year when restaurants and bars that would normally be enjoying strong trading were closed.

Supermarkets have remained open through lockdowns when other retailers have been closed but the extra costs of trading during the pandemic are weighing on profits, with Morrisons saying this week it faced a GBP280m hit for the current financial year.