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Grocers Stockpile, Build ‘Pandemic Pallets’ Ahead of Winter

Grocers Stockpile, Build ‘Pandemic Pallets’ Ahead of Winter

Resurgence of Covid-19 cases and the impending holiday rush prompt retailers to sideline lean-inventory strategies

By Jaewon Kang and Annie GasparroUpdated Sept. 27, 2020 11:32 am ET

Grocery stores and food companies are preparing for a possible surge in sales amid a new rise in Covid-19 cases and the impending holiday rush.

Supermarkets are stockpiling groceries and storing them early to prepare for the fall and winter months, when some health experts warn the country could see another widespread outbreak of virus cases and new restrictions. Food companies are accelerating production of their most popular items, and leaders across the industry are saying they won’t be caught unprepared in the face of another pandemic surge.

Southeastern Grocers LLC secured holiday turkeys and hams over the summer, months before it normally starts inventory planning, said Chief Executive Anthony Hucker. And grocery wholesaler United Natural Foods Inc. has loaded up on extra inventory of cranberry sauce, herbal tea and cold remedies, said President Chris Testa.

“We started talking about Thanksgiving in June. That’s earlier than we ever have,” he said.

Associated Food Stores recently started building “pandemic pallets” of cleaning and sanitizing products so it always has some inventory in warehouses, said Darin Peirce, vice president of retail operations for the cooperative of more than 400 stores. The company is establishing protocols so it can better manage scenarios of high demand.TO READ THE FULL STORYSUBSCRIBESIGN IN

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