Panic buyers are “selfish and socially divisive” because only middle classes can afford to do it, an MP and supermarket have said.
Reports suggest that the UK is beginning to stockpile again after the imposition of new restrictions, prompting urgent pleas from retailers for customers to only buy what they need.
Supermarkets insisted that they have strengthened their supply chains and boosted home delivery capacity in response to the empty shelves seen in March meaning there is no need to panic buy.
However, Alex Davies-Jones, the MP for Pontypridd, said she had been made aware of a “spree” of panic buying in her constituency.
She said: “People engaging in panic buying shouldn’t be. I have been assured [by local shopkeepers] that there is no need and that the supply chains are there. Anyone panic buying is selfish and they aren’t thinking of others.”
A spokesman for Iceland said there is no shortage of products or delivery slots at the supermarket.
He added: “There would also have been no shortage of products at the start of lockdown if people had resisted the urge to stockpile.
“Panic buying is selfish and socially divisive because stockpiling is only an option for the better-off, and it seriously disadvantages those including the elderly and vulnerable who can only afford to buy what they need.”
In an email to customers the chief executive of Aldi, Giles Hurley, urged customers to shop “considerately”, while Tesco boss Dave Lewis told Sky News that “unnecessary” panic buying could cause “tension” in the supply chain.
Some corner shops have prepared for possible panic buying by rearranging stores to place high-demand items, like cleaning products, in a more prominent place.
One shop owner in the Midlands posted a picture on Twitter of a display of cleaning sprays and disinfectant and said the shop is “ready for the second lockdown”.
Meanwhile, shop workers union Usdaw said that enforcing social distancing and the wearing of face masks had become the main trigger for abuse of retail staff. General secretary Paddy Lillis said the abuse was “a disgrace”.