Walmart's toilet-paper and cleaning-supply shortages return amid COVID surge, with managers determining if stores should bring back purchasing limits
- Walmart is struggling to keep toilet paper and cleaning supplies in stock as coronavirus cases surge.
- "As is normal during periods of fluctuating demand, store managers have the discretion to implement item limits based on their specific store experience to help sustain product availability," Walmart said in a statement.
- Kroger, H-E-B, and Wegmans have all announced the return of purchasing limits in recent weeks.
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Walmarts across the US are running out of toilet paper and cleaning supplies as coronavirus cases surge.
On Tuesday, Walmart executives said on a call with investors that some stores are struggling to keep certain items in stock.
"I was in stores last week and I saw variance from one state to the other, one location to the other, just depends on how people are feeling in that moment," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said on Tuesday. "… The action is the same as what we saw before. They're just stocking up on paper goods, cleaning supplies, and dry grocery."
John Furner, the president of Walmart's US business, said that toilet paper and cleaning suppliers were under the most strain. Meanwhile, stock of hand sanitizer and masks has improved, as has fresh meat.
Read more: The pandemic is permanently changing fast food as Wendy's, Burger King, and Chipotle double down on high-tech drive-thrus
Walmart confirmed in a statement to Business Insider that shortages could lead to the return of purchasing limits, based on store managers' decisions.
"We will continue to keep a close eye on product availability and work with our supply chain to help meet customer demand," Walmart said in a statement. "As is normal during periods of fluctuating demand, store managers have the discretion to implement item limits based on their specific store experience to help sustain product availability."
Many major grocers are bringing back limits on products such as toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Kroger, H-E-B, and Wegmans have all announced the return of limitations in recent weeks.
Walmart is optimistic that it will weather this wave of COVID cases better than the early days of the pandemic.
"I think we're going to be able to respond in this instance better than we did in the first half of the year, although we're still — as a total supply chain — still stressed in some places," McMillon said on Tuesday's call.
McMillon added: "It's disappointing to watch our rationalities and see as many out of stocks as we had in consumables right now, generally, although it's a whole lot better than it was earlier in the year."
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