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March 1, 2020

Grocers, Retailers Prepare for Surge in Demand as Coronavirus Spreads


By Jaewon Kang

Supermarkets and other retailers are preparing for a surge in demand and shoppers are stocking up on staple foods and cleaning supplies as more cases of the new coronavirus appear in the U.S.

For weeks, as the outbreak advanced mainly in China, retailers focused on maintaining supplies of products they procure from Asia such as tuna, mandarin oranges, garlic and face masks.

Their attention shifted in recent days as cases multiplied from South Korea to Iran and as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of a potential pandemic. Health officials in Washington state on Saturday reported the first death of someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus in the U.S. Health officials on Sunday reported two additional cases in Washington and a first case in Rhode Island, adding to dozens of cases across the country.

Now grocers are working to prevent shortages and preparing for a rise in demand for disinfectants, hand sanitizer and long-lasting items such as pasta and canned food. Some are ramping up orders from suppliers. Read more.

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