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Sainsbury’s lifts buying restrictions on ‘thousands of products’

By Emma Bowden, PA

Sainsbury’s has lifted buying restrictions on “thousands of products” to help customers shop for people in the vulnerable group who are unable to leave the house.

Supermarkets began to ration popular items as they battled to keep shelves stocked following panic buying in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to customers, due to be delivered on Wednesday, Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe has announced he is lifting some restrictions after shoppers told him that product limits were a barrier to buying items for others.

Restrictions will remain in place for items such as pasta and long-life milk, which have been limited to two per customer.

The letter says: “You wrote to tell me that product limits were a barrier to being able to shop for other people.

“We understand that it can be difficult to buy what you need and shop for someone else with the three-item product limit.

“We have now lifted buying restrictions on thousands of products and hope that this will help more of you to shop for others.”

Mr Coupe said that stock levels are “now much better” across stores, but limits will remain on pasta, UHT milk, antibacterial products and some tinned and frozen foods.

The supermarket says it is also offering an additional 150,000 elderly and vulnerable customers a priority delivery slot, after giving 450,000 of this group the opportunity last week.

The new customers are matched from a Government database, where people registered to say they are vulnerable and need assistance in getting a food shop.

Sainsbury’s said it was waiting for databases for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and will contact vulnerable customers in those areas “as soon as we are able”.