Retail group: Supplies, even toilet paper, rebound on store shelves

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Sun Staff

A customer grabs a package of bottled water as two workers restock the shelf at a Smith’s grocery store in Henderson Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Stores have been able to restock hard-to-find items like water following the panic buying that ensued as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thu, Mar 26, 2020 (2 a.m.)

The hoarding that left Nevada’s grocery and retail stores with bare shelves on some aisles and limited supplies on others appears to be letting up, a representative of the Retail Association of Nevada said Wednesday.

News flash: Even toilet paper has been sighted.

“I can tell you that the supply chain is filling in gaps as we speak,” said Bryan Wachter, the organization’s senior vice president of government and public affairs. “I know I was at the grocery store yesterday, it was 11 (a.m. in North Las Vegas) and there was still toilet paper on the shelves. We’ve seen the period of panic buying kind of subside, at least anecdotally.”

Speaking on a conference call about a new consumer survey conducted by the association about issues related to the coronavirus outbreak, Wachter said suppliers were overwhelmed by the initial rush to stores but are rebounding by working extended hours.

“There’s no shortage of product,” he said. “It’s just a matter of making sure it’s getting from Point A to Point B, and we expect that process to continue. We’re experiencing a return to some semblance of normalcy. “

The organization represents about 2,200 retailers in the state, where the retail industry accounts for more than 400,000 jobs.

In its survey, the organization reported that respondents were supportive of closures to slow the spread of COVID-19 but were worried about the long-term ramifications — for instance, they expected the outbreak to reduce their earnings and result in more spending for goods and services. Asked to rate Gov. Steve Sisolak and President Donald Trump in their handling of the crisis, 64% of respondents said Sisolak had done “very well” or “well” versus 50% for Trump. Meanwhile, 41% responded that Trump had done “poorly” or “very poorly” as opposed to just 18% for Sisolak.

In addition, 75% of respondents agreed that if consumers would buy only the amounts of products they needed, there would be enough supplies for everyone.

The poll drew 385 Nevadans, who were surveyed by land line. It had a margin of error of plus-minus 5%, and the association could not immediately provide results broken down by county or rural-urban status of respondents.

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