'It's spiking again': Wilmington-area grocery stores see signs of 'panic-buying'
At the Lowes Foods on South College Road in Wilmington, cleaning supplies are a hot commodity.
The store saw high demand for cleaning and other household supplies when the pandemic started this spring. It plateaued this summer, but demand is again on the rise.
"It's spiking again," said Carl Carpenter, the store's manager. "You can tell people are trying to take a run on Lysol wipes and cleaning supplies: bleach, toilet paper and, my goodness, they're killing paper towels."
On Tuesday morning, a largely empty shelf marked the spot where the store's paper towels should have been. Paper signs posted throughout the household supplies aisle notified customers that they would have to limit certain purchases, including paper towels and disposable gloves.
Bare spots also dotted the shelves of the household supplies aisle at the Lowes Foods in Leland. Like the Wilmington store, they have imposed limits on some supplies, including paper toweling, toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and sprays and baby wipes.
At the Wilmington store, other signs told customers that disinfectant wipes are temporarily out of stock due to high demand. Carpenter began to notice an uptick in demand during the middle of last week, he said.
With the company's distribution centers already operating at capacity and other stores also seeing shortages, Carpenter's store is forced to stick with its planned orders despite the supply shortages.
In recent days, sales of cleaning supplies have also increased at the Harris Teeter on Oleander Drive.
The "panic-buying" reminds Tiffani York, a customer service manager at the store, of the early days of the pandemic when they struggled to keep certain household supplies in stock.
"It's just like when this all started," York said.
The shelves appeared well-stocked with paper towels and toilet paper on Tuesday morning. But companywide, the store has "proactively and temporarily" set purchase limits for various products, a Harris Teeter spokesperson wrote in an email to the StarNews.
Purchases of paper towels, toilet paper, disposable plates and cups, canned meat, seafood and pasta, among other items, have been limited to two per person, according to the company's website.
The Piggly Wiggly in Burgaw appeared to be running low on disinfectant wipes on Thursday night, but otherwise seemed well-stocked with cleaning supplies.
Likewise, the shelves of the Aldi in Leland were stocked with toilet paper and paper towels. But signs notified customers of purchase limits on paper toweliand toilet paper.
The shelves of the Target in Wilmington were brimming with containers of disinfectant wipes on Tuesday. Nonetheless, the store had posted signs limiting customers to one container. Similar limits were imposed on hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes at the nearby Walmart.
Carpenter, the Lowes Foods manager, is seeing another trend that reflects holiday celebrations in 2020: a high demand for smaller turkeys.
He attributes the demand to people hosting smaller gatherings at their 币圈十大交易所homes this Thanksgiving due to COVID-19 precautions.
Compared to last year, the store's frozen turkey sales are up 40% and fresh turkey sales are up 75%, Carpenter said. In the past, 16 to 22 pound birds were typically in highest demand. This year, people want the smaller 10 to 12 pounders.
Ducks are also selling out, Carpenter said, which is unusual.
"I couldn't give ducks away a few years ago," he said. "You can tell its going to be a more intimate gathering."
Reporter Emma Dill can be reached at 910-343-2096 or firstname.lastname@example.org