Last year, a frenzied run on toilet paper that left store shelves bare across the United States became a symbol of the panic that gripped Americans at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now at least one big box retailer is trying to prevent a repeat of this frenzy, as the Delta variant has increased the number of cases in many parts of the country.
Retailer Costco, known for its bargains on bulk food and cleaning supplies, confirmed in a fourth quarter earnings call Thursday that it was “placing certain limitations on key items” such as toilet paper , Kirkland Signature cleaning products and water. .
The company did not specify what those limits were, but Richard A. Galanti, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Costco, noted “the surge in demand from Delta.”
He said supply chains had also been affected by “port delays; shortage of containers; Disruptions related to Covid; shortages on various components, raw materials and ingredients; labor cost pressures; and truck driver and driver shortages.
“A year ago there was a shortage of goods,” said Mr Galanti, according to a transcript of the call posted on The Motley Fool’s website. “Now they have a lot of goods, but there are delays of two or three weeks in getting them delivered. “
To keep store shelves stocked, Costco “ordered as much as possible and received it sooner,” Mr. Galanti said. The company chartered three ocean-going vessels to transport containers between Asia and the United States and Canada, he said. Each ship can carry 800 to 1,000 containers at a time.