As rumours of a second national lockdown leading up to the Christmas period sweep the UK, retail executives are once again warning that this could lead to a surge of public panic buying across supermarkets once more – despite constant reassurance that panic or bulk buying will not be necessary.

Despite another country-wide lockdown being stressed as a “last line of defence” by the Government, rising infection rates and colder weather, as well as growing public annoyance at stringent and ever-increasing security measures, have all led to local and regional lockdowns around the UK. The prospect of once again being locked away indoors and working from home – with the exception of essential workers – is one that is prompting many households to yet again splurge on the bulk-buying of necessities.

The first lockdown

Back in March, when the country went into lockdown for the first time, supermarkets all around the UK reported a sharp spike in sales, with an average of a 52% increase in sales during April alone. While this was great for profits, it also left stores understocked, staff members facing unprecedented levels of abuse and stress, and a high number of incidents on shop floors that involved physical fighting between shoppers.

History repeating itself?

As the whispers of a second national lockdown grow then, retail executives across the UK are warning that history could soon repeat itself if stores don’t start preparing for it now. This could involve rota-ing a higher number of staff on the floor at any one time to ensure shelves are stacked, ordering above-average levels of stock to ensure no products run out, and reinforcing COVID-19 regulations as some chains report a laxity on the rules due to uncooperative shoppers.

Christmas looms

If a national lockdown does hit once more, and shops are not prepared, then retail executives and staff members could also face worse levels of shelf barrenness and shopper hostility thanks to the Christmas period. Households across the UK are looking to Christmas as a time to harbour joy and happiness following this year full of fear and worry – but this could mean that they’re more intent than ever to bring the gift of giving to their loved ones. This means a renewed desperation to get those all-important presents, especially gifts for little ones such as toys and clothing. Christmas food, especially frozen, is also forecast to be in high demand.

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