The nationwide explosion in coronavirus cases is fueling another wave of hoarding by U.S. consumers, who are again stripping retail shelves bare of toilet paper and cleaning supplies. The tide of infections is prompting a replay of behavior seen in March, when the pandemic was spreading and Americans stocked up in preparation for a long period of being housebound.

Walmart, the country’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, is among the chains struggling to keep up with demand for cleaning supplies at some of its more than 4,750 domestic stores, but said it is better equipped to handle the stockpiling than it was earlier this year. Amazon, which has sold out of most disinfectant wipes and paper towels, said it’s working with manufacturers to replenish supplies of basic household items.

As consumers load up, grocery chains including Kroger, Publix and Wegmans are limiting how much customers can pile into their shopping carts.


Back to Latest