Fears of a second national lockdown have sent toilet roll sales spiralling once more according to the manufacturer that supplies Britain’s Big 4 supermarkets.
WEPA Group, which produces own-brand toilet paper and kitchen towel products across the UK market, reported a 23 per cent surge in sales over the past week. It added, however, lessons had been learned from earlier in the year when consumers whad gone on a stockpiling frenzy.
It also maintains the UK will have sufficient supplies – if customers shop responsibly.
Mike Docker, Joint Managing Director at WEPA UK, said: “We are doing all that we can to ensure stock remains available including rationalising some niche embossed patterns and focusing on larger pack sizes, which we know were in demand in March”.
Docker said the firm has also put in place “back-up production facilities and has hauliers on standby” but cautioned that consumers need to “act on the advice provided by the supermarkets when buying”.
But since Boris Johnson announced a tightening of Coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday, signs of a future stampede have started to surface across the mainstream media and on social media.
The Daily Mail published images depicting a mad dash for toilet tissue and other essentials with panic-buyers forming giant queues at Costco.
Numerous Twitter users, meanwhile, have started outing fellow shoppers with one posting a message and attached image (below) declaring: “Panic buying has begun in my local farm foods. Absolute scenes next door in Lidl too.”
In an interview with Sky News, Tesco’s outgoing Chief Executive Dave Lewis pleaded for customers to shop normally as coronavirus restrictions are stepped up.
“The message would be one of reassurance. I think the UK saw how well the food industry managed last time, so there’s very good supplies of food,” he said.
“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.”