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Trolley-pushing shoppers queue for supplies at CostCo amid coronavirus crisis

Retailers have reported a rise in abuse of staff amid coronavirus panic-buying, despite supermarkets calling for calm from shoppers. It comes after a chaotic weekend for supermarkets, which saw their shelves emptied of essential items such as toilet rolls, cleaning products, dried pasta and tinned food, after the virus outbreak was classified as a pandemic. Today, shocking…

Retailers have reported a rise in abuse of staff amid coronavirus panic-buying, despite supermarkets calling for calm from shoppers. 

It comes after a chaotic weekend for supermarkets, which saw their shelves emptied of essential items such as toilet rolls, cleaning products, dried pasta and tinned food, after the virus outbreak was classified as a pandemic. 

Today, shocking images captured Brits lining up with their trolleys by the side of a road as they waited to grab supplies at the Costco in Chingford, and elsewhere, customers were seen with multiple packs of water, sugar and toilet roll in Lakeside. 

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK has increased to 1,543, with 36 deaths.

Supermarkets have urged customers not to panic buy to ensure everyone is adequately supplied.

Worried shoppers form long queues ahead of the opening of a Costco wholesale store in Chingford, today in London

Customers push a trolley full of multiple packs of water, fizzy pop, sugar and toilet roll outside a Costco in Lakeside

It comes as panicked Brits continue to strip the shelves (pictured in Ashford, Kent) across the UK bare of essentials as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the nation rises to 1,543

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said staff have been the victims of abuse in recent days, but retailers are working with the police to keep stores ‘running as smoothly as possible’.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the BRC, said: ‘Even when circumstances are difficult, retailers are well versed in providing effective security measures.’

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: ‘In the face of unprecedented demand as a result of coronavirus, food retailers have come together to ask their customers to support each other to make sure everyone can get access to the products they need.’

Sainsbury’s – which has a five-product limit on certain items – emailed millions of its customers yesterday to urge them not to stockpile and insisting there were enough supplies of food and essential items for ‘everyone’. 

Chief executive Mike Coupe wrote: ‘There are gaps on shelves because of increased demand, but we have new stock arriving regularly and we’re doing our best to keep shelves stocked.’

Tesco store forced to shut due to OVERCROWDING as store staff ‘screamed at’ by panic buying customer 

By Joseph Laws for MailOnline 

A Tesco store in Burnage, south Manchester was forced to close this morning to ease the crowds of panic buyers.

Customers were seen lining up outside of the huge megastore in droves amid coronavirus fears.

One Tesco worker in the store was shouted when a customer walked in and reportedly screamed at her to ‘stop p******’ around and get on a till’.

Another customer said how ‘couldn’t believe’ how rude the woman shouting was.

Bosses at the retail chain confirmed it had closed temporarily for 15 minutes following rumours it had closed due to fighting.  

In the town of Ongar, Essex, shelves in the local Sainsbury’s store appeared bare at 4pm today.

Items including potatoes appeared even out of stock as the meat section appeared stripped of goods. 

A store assistant wrote online that a ‘sheer volume’ of people were ‘coming from all over the county’ to panic buy goods from the store.

Customers were seen lining up outside of the huge megastore in droves in Burnage, south Manchester amid coronavirus fears

In the town of Ongar, Essex, shelves in the local Sainsbury’s store appeared bare at 4pm today

Items including potatoes appeared even out of stock in the Ongar store as the meat section appeared stripped of goods

Shoppers were quick to take to Twitter to share their disbelief at the scenes they were witnessing, claiming customers were queuing across car parks to get into the stores

Concerned customers wait outside a Costco this morning in Lakeside, West Thurrock, Essex

He continued to urge families to stop hoarding products and added: ‘Please think before you buy and only buy what you and your family need.’

Ocado said it has seen ‘exceptionally high demand’ on its website, meaning delivery slots have sold out ‘quicker than expected’.

The online supermarket said it had to take its app offline ‘due to performance issues driven by continued high demand’.

Other supermarkets have also seen delivery slots fill up rapidly, with some shoppers saying on social media they have been unable to book home deliveries until April.

Environment Secretary George Eustice has continued to hold daily phone calls with supermarket chief executives to ensure customers will have the necessary supply of provisions.

A Defra spokesman said: ‘We have a very reliable food supply system, which we have gone through as part of our no-deal planning for Brexit. There is no concern that we will be unable to get enough into the country.

Trolley-pushing shoppers wearing masks, line up on a road outside the Costco in Chingford, this morning

A man (pictured left) leaves the Costco in Lakeside, West Thurrock, Essex, with plenty of toilet roll, while other customers (right) queue up outside the store

A woman wears a mask as she waits to get in the Costco in Chingford, while other customers line-up behind her

‘What we are focused on is ensuring food can get to the shops so that people can buy it, and how to get it to people who are self-isolating. In the meantime, we are urging people to pull together and help our neighbours.’

Analysts have suggested that supermarkets might cut down on their range of brands or products in response to the outbreak.

Bruno Monteyne, retail analyst at Bernstein, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘You can probably get 10 per cent or 15 per cent productivity improvement out of simplifying the range.’

Images taken today across Costcos around the UK showed Brits lining up outside as stores appeared to struggle to deal with the amount of customers rushing through the doors.

Shoppers were quick to take to Twitter to share their disbelief at the scenes they were witnessing, claiming customers were queuing across car parks to get into the stores. 

Anxious shoppers form long queues ahead of the opening of a Costco wholesale store in Chingford this morning

Hundreds of people wait to enter the Costco at Lakeside today amid the coronavirus outbreak

Brits continue to panic buy as hundreds wait to be let into the Costco at Lakeside in West Thurrock, Essex, today

Supermarkets cracked down on what shoppers can purchase as panic about the coronavirus epidemic created wide-spread stockpiling.

The chaos saw people scrabbling to load up with loo rolls, long-life milk and pasta in a bid to prepare for the worst. 

Tesco – Britain’s biggest supermarket – has rationed the sale of anti-bacterial products, dried pasta, tinned vegetables, toilet paper and tissues to five packs at a time starting online on Sunday morning and in stores on Saturday afternoon.

Waitrose has introduced a limit to products – including hand sanitizer – that can be bought online. 

In Boots, bottles of children’s paracetamol Calpol are being sold at only one at a time.   

Yesterday, a young mother in Glasgow was left in tears after not finding baby milk for her newborn, who was just three days old, Glasgow Live reported.

One customer said: ‘I spoke to a young guy who told me that a woman with a three day old baby was in tears because she couldn’t find powdered milk, it’s just outrageous.’

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