UAE supermarkets are well stocked (Part -1)

Rupkatha Bhowmick

Amidst the on-going situation around COVID-19, grocery shopping patterns in the UAE indicate consumers’ need to stock up. However, industry insiders assure that there is no need to panic as supermarkets are well stocked.

“People are tending to shop in more quantity. For example, if they would buy five kilos of rice, now they might opt to double that quantity,” explains Kamal Vachani, group director, Almaya Group. “That is easily explained by the on-going situation – around social distancing – wherein people are eating more at home. But at our supermarkets, we don’t see it necessarily linked to panic shopping.”

When asked if certain product categories are moving faster, Vachani said, “Along with the likes of sanitisers, other items are also selling well – be that fresh or canned.”

Commenting on the possibility of product shortage of any kind, he stressed, “All our supermarkets are well-stocked. There is no shortage of products. Of course, a certain brand of sanitiser might go out of stock, only for a few hours; but several other brands are available. We are in complete control of the situation.”

Other hypermarket and supermarket chains are also undertaking necessary actions to ensure product availability. On part of retail conglomerate Lulu Group that runs the chain of Lulu Hypermarkets, chief communications officer, V. Nandakumar, stated, “We have been increasing the number of local sourcing offices across the world. We have invested heavily in creating state-of-the-art logistics and warehousing facilities in key markets to ensure uninterrupted flow of products from around the world at the best price points.”

Meanwhile, today on radio Spinneys’ commercial manager – grocery, Tom Harvey confirmed witnessing a spike in grocery shopping since mid of January when the COVID-19 situation first surfaced. The pace of shopping – especially for products like hand sanitisers and wipes – has increased over the last couple of days, but Spinneys isn’t expecting shortage in product availability. In addition, following a rise in footfall in store, Spinneys is undertaking all measures to ensure utmost hygiene.

In wake of the current situation, consumers are also ordering online. Taking about a possible rise in online shopping, Vachani observes, “Generally, online grocery shopping has been on the rise, but that’s driven by convenience, not panic. People have busy lives and prefer the convenience of doorstep delivery.”

Staying with doorstep delivery, Carrefour UAE promises the same within an hour.