Data: Grocers remain challenged by high shopper demand for essential products

Sainsbury's toilet paper

As the UK enters its fifth week of the coronavirus lockdown, sustained consumer demand for everyday and store-cupboard essentials remains a challenge to the grocers and their suppliers.

Data from Edge by Ascential shows that the number of out-of-stock items across UK supermarkets crept up following the Easter bank holiday weekend as demand in many essential categories outstripped supply.

Product unavailability crept up last week across the major UK online retailers, with out-of-stock levels ending the week at 15.2% compared with 14.1% a week earlier. Average out-of-stock levels for the UK grocers before the coronavirus pandemic stood at around 1.3%. 

Tesco and Sainsbury’s both saw their levels of product unavailability edge back up over the past week. Out-of-stock levels at Tesco reached 13.5% last week, the highest it has been for three weeks.

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