Panic buying could continue for a YEAR: Scary warning that toilet paper will continue to sell out as Aussies react to new waves of coronavirus
- Fears of further outbreaks could trigger panic buying for a year, experts warned
- Shelves starting to be stripped again as COVID-19 infections rise in Melbourne
- Came three months after first wave of panic buying during onset of pandemic
- ‘This cycle could repeat itself multiple times in the next 12 months,’ report said
Fears of further outbreaks of COVID-19 in Australia could trigger periods of intermittent panic buying for the next year, experts have warned.
Coles and Woolworths were last week forced to bring back limits on toilet paper – with additional purchase limits on items in Victoria – after a surge in coronavirus cases in Melbourne in recent weeks.
A report by Macquarie Wealth Management warned the renewed panic buying just three months after the first bout of shelf-stripping in March could be the first of ‘multiple’ supply shortages as the nation emerges from the pandemic.
Pictured: Empty toilet paper shelves in Melbourne on Friday as panic buying surges again amid a spike in COVID-19 infections in the city. A report has warned the intermittent stripping of shelves could continue for another year as Australia emerges from the coronavirus pandemic
‘Purchase limits were reinstated in Victoria earlier this week, as stockpiling behaviours began to materialise again, while on Thursday, Sydney was reported as beginning to see product shortages again,’ the report seen by The Australian said.
‘We expect this cycle could repeat itself multiple times in the next 12 months each time there is fear of another wave occurring.’
The report added the grocery industry could expect to experience strong sales until the middle of next year as Australians opt to eat at home as social distancing restrictions are gradually eased.
‘We expect the general eat-at-home trend to continue to play out in supermarket sales through the first half of 2021 as consumers remain cautious on spending money going out,’ the report said.
The consumer analysts said they expect household spending to continue following an upward trend, but that it would level off towards the end of the year.
‘We think the materially elevated levels of growth we are seeing are unsustainable post September,’ the report said.
‘But [we] note with travel bans increasingly pushed out further, we think household holiday spend will at least partially continue to be redirected to homewares and home improvement.’
A customer leaves a Melbourne Costco outlet with a trolley full of toilet paper last week. Victoria is battling a surge in coronavirus cases in Melbourne in recent weeks
All Coles and Coles Express stores across the country now limit toilet paper and paper towel purchases to just one pack, after a spike in infections in Victoria in recent weeks.
In addition, Victorian stores and those along the NSW border have two-item limits on hand sanitiser, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, UHT milk, eggs and rice.
Three Coles stores in Lavington, Albury and Deniliquin in NSW are affected since they rely on Victorian distribution centres.
What are the limits in Victoria?
Two items per person on items at Woolworths:
Eggs and rice
Limits in items at Coles:
Toilet paper 1
Hand sanitiser 2
Paper towel 1
UHT milk 2
A woman carries a packet of toilet paper through Brimbank shopping centre in Melbourne last Monday
‘We ask that customers continue to shop normally so that everyone can have access to the food and groceries they need,’ a Coles spokeswoman said.
Three Coles stores in Lavington, Albury and Deniliquin in NSW have brought back product limits since they rely on Victorian distribution centres.
Victoria on Monday reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 as the state’s recent spike gets worse, forcing the government to consider fresh lockdowns.
The number is the state’s biggest daily increase since March 31 and its fourth-biggest since the pandemic began, prompting Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton to say this second wave is ‘as big as the first’.
‘Stop it, it’s ridiculous’: Scott Morrison blasts panic buyers for hoarding toilet paper – as Coles and Woolworths are forced to bring back purchasing limits
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has branded a resurgence in panic buying ridiculous, after major supermarkets were forced to reinstate limits on toilet paper purchases.
At a press conference in Canberra, Mr Morrison repeated his earlier blunt warning to selfish shoppers.
‘Stop it, it’s ridiculous,’ he told reporters on Friday.
‘I’m sure it will pass as it did last time. There’s no need for it.’
He said it was important to reassure people the outbreak did not mean there would be a problem with supplies of essential items.
Woolworths Supermarkets managing director Claire Peters said the move is precautionary and designed to support appropriate social distancing in stores during the weekend.
‘We’ve regrettably started to see elevated demand for toilet roll move outside Victoria in the past 24 hours,’ she said in a statement.
‘While the demand is not at the same level as Victoria, we’re taking preventative action now to get ahead of any excessive buying this weekend and help maintain social distancing in our stores.’