The boss of Coles has blamed an international and social media frenzy for the rampant bulk buying of essentials.
The boss of Coles has blamed an international and social media frenzy for the rampant bulk buying of essentials.

Coles boss blames virus ‘frenzy’ for panic buying

A social and international media "frenzy" about coronavirus is driving panic buying of toilet paper and essential groceries, according to the boss of supermarket giant Coles.

Chief executive officer Steven Cain said the chain, which has followed Woolworths with a temporary four-pack toilet paper limit, believed the panic had caused customers to doubt whether stores could keep up with demand.

Some selfish shoppers were also bulk buying essentials and trying to sell them online at inflated prices.

Toilet paper has been in scarce supply as panicked shoppers buy up big. Picture: Christine Middap
Toilet paper has been in scarce supply as panicked shoppers buy up big. Picture: Christine Middap

"As you may have seen, the past few days have been challenging for some customers with shortages of selected items, in particular toilet rolls!,'' Mr Cain said in a letter to customers.

"This is due to increased purchases of everyday items by some customers brought about, in part, by an international media & social media frenzy - which then causes other customers to lose confidence in the system and then buy more themselves.

"Australia has an outstanding supply chain and most of our products are sourced from Australia including toilet paper."

Mr Cain said Coles had boosted staff numbers to help restock shelves while suppliers were ramping up production.

 

Coles boss Steven Cain has explained why the chain is restricting sales of toilet paper.
Coles boss Steven Cain has explained why the chain is restricting sales of toilet paper.

 

Woolworths was the first supermarket to introduce a toilet paper limit. Picture: Katrina Bridgeford
Woolworths was the first supermarket to introduce a toilet paper limit. Picture: Katrina Bridgeford

"However, in the short term, we have reluctantly chosen to introduce a temporary 4 pack limit on toilet paper to ensure the elderly and those groups at highest risk can still access the everyday products they need, and to reduce likelihood of bulk purchasing which then appear on the internet at a price premium,'' he said.

"I understand the average 4 person family needs around 20 rolls of toilet paper per fortnight, and larger packs contain around 30 rolls meaning 4 packs would total 120 rolls - enough for around 12 weeks.

"We appreciate your business and I know that security of grocery supply is a key concern for all Australians. Through the bushfires I also know that Australia is at its best when we all come together to help each other."

Photos and videos of empty shopping centre aisles and customers clambering for scarce essentials has filled social media in recent days.

Hand sanitiser, tissues hand wash, tinned food and rice are also among items in demand.

wes.hosking@news.com.au



CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Frecklington’s first stop on ‘goat track’

Premium Content CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Frecklington’s first stop on ‘goat track’

In the region today the opposition leader said doing nothing about the Bruce...

Driver who allegedly killed pedestrian facing fresh charge

Premium Content Driver who allegedly killed pedestrian facing fresh charge

The matter was heard in Bundaberg Magistrates Court this morning.

NAMED: 68 people expected in Bundy court today

Premium Content NAMED: 68 people expected in Bundy court today

See who is expected to appear in Bundaberg Magistrates Court today.