RI grocery stores still struggling to stock shelves amid pandemic

Business News

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Even though Phase 1 of Gov; Gina Raimondo’s plan to reopen the economy is well underway, grocery stores across Rhode Island have still been struggling to keep their shelves stocked with the necessities.

Brian McConnell, the general manager of Belmont Market in Wakefield, said small grocers are being hit just as hard as larger supermarkets.

“It’s an industry-wide problem,” McConnell said.

McConnell said disinfectant wipes, toilet paper, canned goods, flour and rice are among the items Belmont is struggling to keep in stock.

“We get deliveries every day,” McConnell said. “But sometimes you get [certain products], sometimes you don’t.”

McConnell said it also doesn’t help that several grocery stores use some of the same distributors, which limits the number of items that are available.

“The biggest problem we have is with our main distributor,” McConnell said. “If we order 1,000 pieces, we are only going to get 400, 500 or 600.”

Larger supermarkets, like Stop & Shop, are also struggling with the limited number of products, which as caused them to place purchase limits on high-demand products like toilet paper and disinfectant wipes.

“We’re working diligently along with our suppliers to keep these products in stock,” the company said in a statement. “As soon as quantities become available to Stop & Shop, we work quickly to re-stock our shelves.”

Another contributing factor to the product shortages is the fact that customers are stocking up on the high-demand products, emptying their shelves much faster.

This has caused Belmont t also put purchasing limits on some of those items, McConnell said. He believes their stock of supplies won’t be back to normal until at least next year.

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