Northern Ireland news

Retailers including Spar, Asda and Sainsburys introduce 'no more than three of same item' shopping rule

Major retailers are restricting the amount of goods shoppers can buy in a bid to curb coronavirus panic-buying

MAJOR retailers are introducing restrictions on how many goods can be purchased in an effort to curb panic-buying.

Sainsbury's and Asda have both said they will stop shoppers buying more than three of any particular food item.

Spar, Eurospar, Vivoxtra and Vivo stores in Northern Ireland have also introduced the same rule.

The outlets are all owned by the Henderson Group.

Some retailers, including Tesco and Boots, have already restricted the purchase of soap, hand sanitizer and toilet rolls.

Sainsbury's has also said it will prioritise vulnerable and elderly people for online deliveries.

A Henderson Group spokesman said its shops had seen a "surge in demand for everyday household items and a high degree of panic buying".

"We would like to once again reiterate that we are doing everything we can to meet this demand, however we now need to place a restriction on the purchasing of goods to make sure none of our shoppers go without," it said.


“Shoppers will not be able to purchase any more than three of each item in store. This measure has been put in place to protect our local shoppers and local suppliers, who are also feeling the strain of the increased demand.

"This way, we believe we can alleviate much of the panic buying, raise supply and meet demand to the benefit of all in the community."

The company thanked shop staff and asked consumers to "only shop for what they need so that we can all look out for the more vulnerable members of our communities".

Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe added it was "focusing all of our efforts on getting as much food and other essential items from our suppliers, into our warehouses and onto shelves as we possibly can.

"We still have enough food for everyone - if we all just buy what we need for us and our families."

Meanwhile, Dunnes Stores has become the latest major retailer to introduce special shopping hours for pensioners.

Iceland outlets and all Lidl stores across Ireland have already introduced reserved time slots.

The management of Dunnes said people over 65 or customers who are vulnerable can shop between 11am and 1pm.

Stores will have designated checkouts and dedicated staff during these hours to help with shopping.

In a statement, Dunnes asked people with children to avoid coming into stores between 11am and 1pm and to shop at other times.

"Thank you for your patience and understanding. Let's all work together to keep each other safe," the statement read.

Other businesses have also announced new measures to combat the pandemic.

Amazon is stopping sellers from sending "non-essentials" to its US and UK warehouses to make space for much-needed groceries and baby products.

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