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Coronavirus: Tesco boss urges Brits 'not to panic buy'

Lily Canter
·2-min read

Watch: Tesco boss urges no return to panic buying as rules are tightened

The chief executive of Tesco (TSCO.L) has urged customers not to panic buy in response to tighter coronavirus restrictions.

The outgoing supermarket boss told Sky News that stockpiling was unnecessary and asked the public to shop normally.

Dave Lewis reassured shoppers there was no disruption in the supply chain as a result of the new measures announced by Boris Johnson in a public address last night.

“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 Lewis.

Empty supermarket shelves were a common sight just weeks before the UK lockdown in March. Credit: Getty.
Empty supermarket shelves were a common sight just weeks before the UK lockdown in March. Credit: Getty.

Weeks before the lockdown began in March supermarkets found their shelves wiped clean of essentials such as toilet roll, pasta and rice as households stocked up.

READ MORE: No-deal Brexit to hit UK economy 'three times as hard' as COVID-19

Supermarkets were forced to implement purchase limits on a range of items to help stocks recover.

Lewis said there was “very good” supplies of food and consumers should be reassured by how well the food industry managed last time.

Watch: What it's like to be part of the NHS supermarket shopping hour

But fears of another national lockdown have seen reports of panic buying rising again in recent days. And high demand for home delivery slots have been reported by Sainsbury's (SBRY.L), with Ocado (OCDO.L) also warning of a three-day waiting list.

The UK's leading supermarkets have confirmed purchase limits won't be reintroduced in the near future and store bosses insist they have enough stock.

Meanwhile Tesco has doubled its online order capacity over the weekend from 600,000 to 1.5 million.

Andrew Opie, head of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “We urge consumers to be considerate and shop for food as they would usually during this difficult time.”