Shoppers urged not to panic buy as toilet paper starts leaving shelves again

Picture: Stuart Perry/
Picture: Stuart Perry/

Supermarkets are again urging regional shoppers not to engage in panic buying amid reports that a surge in COVID-19 cases has led to renewed stockpiling of items in Victoria.

In scenes reminiscent of the onset of the pandemic in March, customers were spotted filling trolleys with toilet paper in a number of Victorian stores on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Major supermarkets stressed there was no need for panic, with plenty of stock to draw from in distribution centres.

A Woolworths spokesman confirmed there had been increased demand for toilet paper in a small number of Victorian stores over recent days.

"We have plenty of stock to draw on in our distribution centres and will replenish our shelves quickly," he said.

"We have more than enough product for all of our customers if we all just buy what we need.

"We'll continue to keep a close eye on our stock levels over the coming days."

An ALDI spokeswoman said shoppers did not need to be worried about access to toilet paper.

"We have loads to go around. We ask shoppers to resist any compulsion to purchase more than they normally would."

Reports of renewed stockpiling come as the number of coronavirus cases in Victoria has spiked over the past week.

The state has logged double-digit increases for the past seven days. Seventeen new cases were recorded on Tuesday and 20 on Wednesday. Community transmission has also risen. Many of the state's mobile testing centres have been swamped, with long waiting times.

In March, supermarket shelves were left bare by people stockpiling toilet paper over fears of running out.

The widespread panic buying led to Prime Minister Scott Morrison sternly telling Australians to "stop hoarding".

"Stop it. It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis."

Coles has been contacted for comment.