Retail bodies reassure public that grocery supply will continue
Representative body reassures shoppers that grocery industry "has never been more prepared having planned for a hard Brexit over the past number of months"
12 March 2020 | 0
Following widespread panic-buying across the country, industry body Retail Excellence has reassured shoppers that the supply to grocery stores will continue and that “more than adequate contingencies are in place”.
In a press statement, Retail Excellence said it had spoken with all of the major grocery multiples and forecourt operators in Ireland.
“We would like to reassure everyone that Ireland is prepared to continue to supply all grocery outlets for the coming months,” said group chief executive David Fitzsimons. “There is no reason for Irish citizens to have any concern in that regard.
“The industry has never been more prepared having planned for a hard Brexit over the past number of months,” he added. “Minister Heather Humphreys, Minister of Business and Enterprise, has done a tremendous job in monitoring this matter and please be assured that we have more than adequate contingencies in place.”
Retail Excellence has also described social media images of empty shelves as “simply sensationalizing the matter,” pointing out that “these shelves are restocked every evening and restocking will continue into the future.
“We echo An Taoiseach’s comments when this morning he confirmed that the shops will remain open,” the organisation added, “and we have plans to ensure supply chains will not be interrupted”.
‘Not designed’ for bulk buying
Meanwhile, Retail Ireland also reassured the public that “supply chains are functioning as normal” but cautioned consumers to “behave responsibly”.
“While there has been significant elevated demand for certain non-perishable grocery products, said director Arnold Dillon, “supply chains are functioning as normal and were well-placed to respond.
“However, retail distribution networks are not designed to deal with bulk buying on a widespread basis,” Dillon added. “It is important that consumers behave responsibly and don’t buy more than they need. Retailers are working with their suppliers and monitoring consumer behaviour to avoid any shortages.”
Meeting with Minister Humphreys
Last week, the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA) was one of a number of retail representative bodies, large grocery retailers and retail distributors, that met with Minister Humphreys at the Department’s offices on 6 March to discuss their contingency plans for Covid-19.
The meeting formed part of the work of the Cabinet Subcommittee and ongoing wide stakeholders’ engagement across government.
“I am greatly encouraged by the preparations that retailers and suppliers are making to ensure that consumers have access to the range of grocery goods that they need,” said Minister Humphreys after the meeting.
“I am also assured that grocery supply chains are well stocked and there is ample supply to meet demand,” she said. “Retailers and their suppliers are working on contingency plans and are following the public health advice provided by government on a daily basis, so that health is prioritised for employees and consumers, and food supply chains can continue to function with minimal disruption.”
Minister Humphreys praised the engagement with grocery retailers, suppliers and retail representative bodies as “constructive and informative” and said this will continue over the coming days and weeks.