Photo Jay Caboz.
A store in Clicks runs out of stock. Photo Jay Caboz.
  • Dis-Chem joins the growing list of retailers that have implemented coronavirus-linked rationing as South African retailers continue to struggle with empty shelves.
  • This is in an effort to curb stock piling. 
  • Dis-Chem says it will only allow customers 6 units of an item throughout its store. 
  • Here's our goring list of rations by other retailers. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Coronavirus-linked rationing is becoming more widespread as South African retailers continue to struggle with empty shelves.

In response to coronavirus-linked panic buying, Dis-Chem has announced it will limit customers to a maximum of six unit of any given item throughout its store network.

The pharmaceutical retailer said that this was in response to governments call on citizens to refrain from excessive purchasing and stockpiling goods as it intensifies its efforts to contain the  novel coronavirus.

“With immediate effect, shoppers will be able to purchase a maximum of six units of any given item throughout Dis-Chem’s store network to minimise the impact of panic buying,” it said in a press statement.

The company said it has been doing everything it could to ensure warehouses have sufficient stock holdings and to replenish shelves daily and as quickly as possible.

“While there have been numerous appeals to customers to only buy what they need in the wake of concerns over coronavirus-linked stockpiling, consumer demand remains high. Limits will ensure that customers can equitably obtain the necessary items regularly,” said Ivan Saltzman, CEO of Dis-Chem.

Dis-Chem is still seeing increased demand for certain household cleaning and personal hygiene products such as tissues, wipes, soaps, hand and surface sanitisers and general wellness products.

“We are working closely with suppliers to ensure the ready availability of additional stock in order to continue to meet the increased demand. We have a strong supply chain and logistics team and can maintain a steady supply to our stores nationwide.”

Retailers have urged all South Africans not to panic, saying they have enough stock to prevent shortages.

But as a result of even more demand they are now implementing limits on what consumers can purchase, in order to make sure everyone gets stock.

Here is the list of retailers that are limiting stock and by how much:

The list will be updated regularly as confirmed information is received from retailers

*last updated 10:45 20 March 2020

Dis-Chem *updated 20 March 2020

In response to coronavirus-linked panic buying, Dis-Chem has announced it will limit customers to a maximum of six unit of any given item throughout its store network.

The pharmaceutical retailer said that this was in response to governments call on citizens to refrain from excessive purchasing and stockpiling goods as it intensifies its efforts to contain the  novel coronavirus.

“With immediate effect, shoppers will be able to purchase a maximum of six units of any given item throughout Dis-Chem’s store network to minimise the impact of panic buying,” it said in a press statement.

The company said it has been doing everything it could to ensure warehouses have sufficient stock holdings and to replenish shelves daily and as quickly as possible.

Clicks 

In response to the unprecedented demand and to help give everyone access to essentials, Clicks are limiting products to 6 items per customer in store.

This is on ALL front shop products including hand sanitisers, toilet paper, vitamins, children’s medicine and pain relief medicine.

The retailer reiterated a commitment to holding prices on hygiene products despite this sustained surge in customer demand.

Massmart – Makro, Game and Builders Warehouse

A Massmart spokesperson told Business Insider that even with the high demand, they are coping.

“We are very mindful that stock piling could hurt the most vulnerable consumers in our society who don’t have the discretionary income to make large purchases. We are determined to ensure that we are able to meet their needs (both in terms of merchandise availability and affordability), to coincide with their availability of funds (e.g. at month-end),” said a spokesperson.

Trading brands under the Massmart branch have started enforcing customer purchasing limits.

They said there has been a high demand for products associated with Covid-19, including sanitisers and wipes.

Checkers and Shoprite 

The Shoprite Group is appealing to customers to only buy what they need. 

Currently the group is seeing increased demand for sanitary, hygiene and baby products, dry pasta, UHT milk and some tinned vegetables.   

Rationing products has been initiated on their online store 60Sixty:

  • Deliveries could be delayed by up to an hour over the original ETA. 
  • Orders are now limited to a maximum of 30 items. 
  • App users are limited to 3 individual products per customer. 

Rationing could potentially be implemented in-store if "customers don't adhere to their call".  

Pick n Pay 

Pick n Pay says customers have been buying responsibly – for the most part. 

The retailer says where stock is temporarily low due to heavy demand, it will be limiting the number of products per customer. Any such limits will be announced online, and via signs in stores.

We visited two stores in Cape Town and found signs asking customers be considerate of others. 

Pick n Pay, Soneike Kuilsriver. Photo Estrelita Moses.

In Pick n Pay, Soneike Kuilsriver, the store was short of Melrose and eggs. 

Pick n Pay, Soneike Kuilsriver. Photo Estrelita Moses.
Photo Estrelita Moses.
Pick n Pay, Soneike Kuilsriver. Photo Estrelita Moses.
 And a fresh order of Maggie Noodles has just arrived. 
Photo Estrelita Moses.
Pick n Pay, Soneike Kuilsriver. Photo Estrelita Moses.

In Pick n Pay Seapoint, customers had been asked to limit toilet paper purchases to two units each. There was none to be seen. 

Photo Jay Caboz.
Pick n Pay, Sea Point. Photo Jay Caboz

Pick n Pay also committed to not increasing prices of key products just because they are demand.

Woolworths  

Woolworths Da Luz in Sea Point.
Woolworths Da Luz in Sea Point. Photo Cathy Upton.

The latest to join the trend is Woolworths that say they have set a limit of 5 units per product per customer.

"We have seen a marked increase in sales of certain products in store and online and we are working to meet the increase in demand," said a spokesperson.  "We would like to assure our customers that we are working with our suppliers to ensure consistent supply of our products so that everyone has access to the food and essentials they need."

As an additional precaution, Woolworths will also suspend all in-store food demonstration services and are re-assessing food displays and offerings, as many of these offerings are open to air. 


For more information direct from the source, see also:

the National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD)

the latest statements issued by the national government

the Twitter stream of health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize

the World Health Organisation's Covic-19 outbreak page

the NICD hotline for Covid-19 is: 0800-029-999.

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