Day 1 of Lockdown: Panic mode on as stocks start to run out

Day 1 of Lockdown: Panic mode on as stocks start to run out

While the prime minister may have announced the nation-wide lockdown on March 24, 2002, Maharashtra has been on lockdown from March 22 itself. There are very few people on the roads and almost minimal traffic. After the panic shopping last night, there is not much rush in the kirana stores and chemists. 

However, what was the most peculiar thing that most nearby grocery shops have run out of one or more essential items. In fact, most of them look empty out. When Mumbai Live asked one supermarket shop which till last week was bustling with activity about the dwindling stocks, the cashier said, "Things are getting sold out at a fast rate. Almost 40-50 per cent stuff that we had is already sold and it does not seem likely that a fresh supply will come till Sunday or sometime next week". He was expecting to sell out 70 per cent stuff by the end of the day or Thursday and then keeping the shutters down till he is able to procure more things. 

Most shops in the neighbourhood have run out of ready to make items such as Maggi noodles, Pasta, and all other ready noodles, Safola Masala Oats, Upma, MTR quick breakfast mixes such as idli, dosa etc. Other hot-selling items are jams, cheese, eggs, rava (sooji) and poha. 

With lot of FMCGs majors announcing that they will be halting productions temporarily, will the supply ever be able to match up to demands? On Tuesday, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestle had issued statements that they temporarily shutting production following the lockdown imposed by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19

On Tuesday, beverage maker Coca-Cola said it has temporarily suspended production at its manufacturing facilities but it will continue to produce essential beverages like water, juices, tea and coffee in a limited manner. Similarly, Pesico's bottling partner Varun Beverages has also suspended production at its manufacturing facilities.

Nestle India too has issued a statement saying that it is scaling down operations in some locations and even suspending in some. Nestle also delivers instant noodles under the brand of Maggi and milk and curd under its umbrella brand.  Will this shut down not impact the stocks in the foreseeable future?

Another interesting observation is that while there is no restriction imposed by the government on timing for the shops selling essential goods, most of them close the shop during the afternoon. Reason being, there is hardly any footfalls. "Most people come in the morning, before 11:00 AM to buy milk, eggs, pav and bread. Most of these items are sold by that time. Post that there are customers only post 7 or 8". When we quizzed the same person on whether there has been any shortage in getting bread and pav, he told us that there have been getting 25 to 40 per cent less supply and whatever stock they have gets sold in 90 to 120 minutes of opening the shop.  He mentioned that since there are limited shops that are open in the neighbourhood, could be onr of the reasons why stocks are moving out so fast. 

Another shopkeeper in Kandivali said that there is no dearth of supply but the demand has suddenly shot up. He mentioned, "Regular retail customer who was earlier taking an x quantity is now demanding 5X. We have been placing an order based on past demands but since the demand has suddenly shot up, we are unable to get replacements in time".

Now with 20 more days to go, will there be an adequate supply of things? Will the prices remain intact? This is something that one will have to only wait and watch.