Americans are panic shopping for hand sanitizer and face masks

News

NEW YORK, USA – MARCH 2: A person wears a face mask as a precaution against coronavirus in New York, United States on March 2, 2020. The U.S. state of New York confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus late Sunday. In a statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a woman in her 30s had contracted the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, while in Iran and she is now isolated in her home. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Americans across the country are stocking up on hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, toilet paper and other products to prepare for the spread of coronavirus.

Long lines at stores and panic buying on cleaning products throughout the country are stretching American retailers’ ability to keep up with demand. Shoppers are posting pictures on social media of lines snaking around Costco and empty shelves of sanitizers at CVS, Walgreens and other drug stores.

“Very, very busy!” Costco chief financial officer Richard Galanti said in an email Saturday. Costco was the top stock on the S&P 500 Monday. Walmart, Walgreens and other retail stocks also jumped.

“It does feel like there is a little bit of panic buying going on,” said Doug Baker, vice president of industry relations at trade group Food Marketing Institute. Retailers are “trying to follow the bouncing ball as quickly as they can.”

Analysts predict the shopping frenzy will increase revenue for retailers early in the year. For the four weeks ending on February 22, sales of hand sanitizer increased 73%, thermometers grew by 47% and medical masks increased 319% compared with the same period last year, according to Nielsen.

“We would expect to see a noticeable benefit to [sales] from accelerated traffic and basket growth as shoppers stock up on food and other essentials,” Cowen analyst Oliver Chen said in a note to clients Tuesday.

Increased demand is testing retailers and grocers’ supply chains, however. Unlike a hurricane or natural disaster, which is usually a regional event, coronavirus panic buying has spread nationally.

“The pattern we’re seeing is more along the lines of what you would see as people prepare for a major storm where certain categories, such as cleaning supplies, would be in high demand,” a spokesperson for Walmart said. The company is working closely with suppliers to “help meet the needs of customers.”

Dennis Curtin, spokesperson for Weis Markets, a grocer with 200 stores in the northeast, said that Weis was increasing its focus on securing private-branded hand sanitizer in stores because national manufacturers were running low.

“We are working to keep our shelves packed with products similar to when a blizzard is being called for and folks know they might be stuck at home,” said Andrea Karns, vice president of sales and marketing at Karns Foods, a family-owed chain of nine stores in Pennsylvania. Karns has increased orders from its suppliers to stock up on inventory.

FOX 2 Newsletters

Sign up for a newsletter from FOX 2 to get updates about news and weather. We offer daily headlines, breaking news, severe weather, and forecast emails.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News