Czech retailers see rise in sales of non-perishable foods over virus fears

Photo: ČTK/AP/Luca Bruno

Domestic supermarket chains and internet food retailers say they have registered a spike in interest in non-perishable foodstuffs on the back of fears that the Covid-19 virus, which has been detected in a number of other European countries, will reach the Czech Republic.

Photo: ČTK/AP/Luca Bruno

While brick and mortar outlets say they possess sufficient supplies, online retailers have sold out of some products, the Czech News Agency reported.

The country’s Tesco branches have seen increased demand for pasta, rice, flour, canned goods and oils, with sales of such items jumping by tens of percent, a spokesperson for Tesco said.

The Hypermarket Globus chain said it too had seen more non-perishables flying off its shelves. However, spokesperson Rita Gabrielová said the company believed there was still no reason to panic and cited a statement to that effect from the World Health Organisation.

Hypermarket Globus will do all in its power to fulfil customers’ demands while also providing all necessary protection for its staff, Ms. Gabrielová added.

A representative of Kaufland, another retail chain, said there could be short-term shortages of some non-perishables food products at its stores. However, the firm is working intensively with suppliers to ensure sufficient supplies.

The owner of one of the Czech Republic’s leading online food retailers, Rohlí, said it had registered a five-fold hike in sales of pâtés, legumes, pasta and baby food on Wednesday.

Tomáš Čupr told the website that its customers had purchased as much in a day as they normally do in a week. Čupr said his company would have fresh supplies on Thursday.

One of Rohlí’s competitors, Koší, said it too had recorded a jump in sales of some products. reported that some customers were filling up their trolleys with goods amounting to CZK 11,000 or 12,000, which is around a third of the country's average gross montly wage.

One customer told the news site they had been to a number of hypermarkets and in each case pasta, canned foods and flour had completely disappeared from the shelves.

Covid-19 has infected over 80,000 people in 40-plus states around the world, killing almost 2,800. The virus causing severe respiratory problems has yet to be detected in the Czech Republic.