Mumbai: Departmental stores witness surcharge of disinfectants; fear inadequate restock  

Mumbai: Choosing to voluntarily quarantine themselves in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Mumbaikars have been thronging to departmental stores in large numbers to procure an adequate quantity of sanitation products, dry foods, detergents, and household supplies.

“Mumbaikars are have been thronging our store since Friday evening. It seems we will run out of stock soon,” said Sumeet Naik, a sales employee at the D-Mart departmental store, Malad (west).

The footfall is so high that the store is running out of shopping carts and baskets frequently throughout the day. “We have already run out of stocks for edible oils, dry foods, disinfectants, and toilet papers,” added Naik.

As a preventive measure against the spread of the dreaded disease, the government of Maharashtra, on March 13, ordered the immediate closure of malls baring stores selling preventive items.

As the lockdown is imposed in some parts of the country and around the globe, store managers are fearing that manufacturers will be unable to despatch the stock materials on time. Store managers have also informed that retailers are refraining from dispatching products in order to send them at a higher prices when the demand will be higher.

“Retailers and suppliers have often turned down our offer to supply restock, so they can supply this material to smaller towns and sell them at higher prices,” claimed a store manager of a city-based Big Bazaar outlet.

The manager said, among many other products, the highest demand is of hand sanitizers and liquid disinfectants. However, his store hasn't received any refill in the stock despite writing to the suppliers on an emergency basis.

“Flights are cancelled and there has been a slowdown in the transport system. Often private suppliers are causing the delay in order to fetch a higher price,” added the manager.

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