Shoprite, Woolworths and Pick n Pay are rationing these items because of coronavirus panic buying

The Shoprite Group says it has begun rationing certain products as consumers have not heeded the call to refrain from stockpiling.

Shoprite, the largest food retailer in South Africa with a R150.4 billion turnover and a 30% market share, issued a statement on Tuesday (17 March) saying that it is doing everything in its power to restock shelves as quickly as possible and that warehouses have stock available.

It further appealed to customers to only buy what they need in the wake of concerns over coronavirus-linked stockpiling.

However, the group said it would now ration certain products to ensure that all customers have access. This includes:

  • Toilet paper;
  • Tissues;
  • Wipes;
  • Liquid soap;
  • Hand sanitiser;
  • Tinned foods;
  • Painkillers;
  • Cereals.

“Demand is closely monitored and other limits may be applied where necessary,” Shoprite said.

“Sixty60 orders have been limited to a maximum of 30 items and individual products are limited to three per customer. This facilitates quicker order fulfilment and enables more customers to be served with necessities at home.”

Shoprite said that product pricing will not change and that it continues to act in the best interest of its consumers and is working closely with suppliers to ensure that additional stock is secured at affordable prices in order to meet the increased demand.

“A special Shoprite Group executive level task committee convenes every 24 hours to report on progress made in the various departments of the business with contingency plans and new procedures deployed as required by the developing crisis,” it said.

“These comprehensive plans are in place across the business to cover contingencies including supply chain disruption, product sourcing, additional hygiene and cleansing procedures, and education on prevention.”

There have been 219,332 coronavirus cases reported around the world. 85,745 of these cases have fully recovered, and 8,969 have died.

124,618 cases are currently active, with 6,814 in a serious or critical condition. 116 cases have been confirmed in South Africa, with the number expected to rise.


Woolworths said it has seen an increase in sales of certain products and are working to meet the demand.

“To ensure enough products for everyone, we have set a limit of 5 units per product per customer. We will continue to replenish our products regularly,” it said.

“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. Thank you to customers for their support in helping us help everybody.”

Pick n Pay

Pick n Pay has indicated that where stocks were temporarily low due to heavy customer demand, it would be limiting the number of certain products per customer.

“Understandably, as customers act on the advice about effective hygiene measures, they are stocking up on household cleaning and personal hygiene products,” said chief executive officer Richard Brasher.

“Some customers have also stocked up on food and other groceries in recent days. I want to encourage all customers to shop in their usual way, and resist the temptation to stock up beyond what you need.

“We have an excellent supply chain and an excellent team of suppliers. We will be able to maintain a good and steady supply of food and other products in our stores. If customers help us by shopping normally, we will be able to minimise the number of times we have to limit how many of some specific products each customer can buy.”

Brasher said that the group would never increase the prices of key products just because they are in particular demand during challenges like the Coronavirus outbreak.

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Shoprite, Woolworths and Pick n Pay are rationing these items because of coronavirus panic buying