British supermarket Sainsbury's to remove most customer purchasing limits

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British supermarket group Sainsbury's <SBRY.L> said on Friday it would start to remove the customer purchasing limits it imposed to prevent coronavirus stockpiling as customers start to buy just what they need.

"As stock continues to build, we have been reviewing whether we still need to limit the number of items people buy. I am pleased to tell you that we will start to remove limits from Sunday," Chief Executive Mike Coupe said in a letter to customers.

Limits will remain in place on the most popular items which include UHT milk, pasta and tinned tomatoes, he said.

"Most people are now just buying what they need for themselves and their families. This means we now often have stock on the shelves all day and at the end of the day."

Coupe also said Sainsbury's, like its UK rivals, was ramping-up its online delivery operation.

Two weeks ago the group had 370,000 online grocery slots available. By the end of next week it will have increased this to 600,000 across home delivery and click and collect.

"We will continue to add more capacity over the coming weeks," he said.

Morrisons <MRW.L> said on Monday it had increased its delivery slots by 60% from pre-coronavirus crisis levels.

All of Britain's big four supermarket groups, also including market leader Tesco <TSCO.L> and Walmart <WMT.N> owned Asda, are prioritising the elderly and vulnerable for online slots.


They want the able to shop in store if they can.


(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)