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Retail groups speak out on COVID-19

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Industry addresses out-of-stocks, hoarding

WASHINGTON — Retail trade association leaders addressed the issue of product shortages and empty store shelves this weekend, urging consumers to “shop responsibly” and vowing to make sure that food and other products will remain available during the COVID-19 crisis.

FMI – The Food Industry Association on Sunday participated in a White House call, promising that the the nation’s food retailers, wholesalers and suppliers will work with President Trump and his administration to ensure the viability of the supply chain and the availability of safe, affordable food and consumer products for our customers.

“We want to ensure that all Americans know the government is working closely with all stakeholders across the food and consumer products supply chain to ensure that stores can stay open and stocked with the products consumers need through this emergency,” FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said in a statement..

“We stand with the President, the Vice President and the Administration, as we work, serve and feed the nation. We are resilient; our industry is working 24-hours-a-day to replenish and restock while ensuring the cleanliness of our stores and facilities. We are seeking to be sensitive to the needs of all our customers and partners, including our WIC and SNAP shoppers and the food banks our stores support.”

National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay and Retail Industry Leaders Association president Brian Dodge issued a statement advising consumers to shop responsibly during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Declaring coronavirus (COVID-19) a national emergency in the United States was a critical step toward ensuring that our communities, our friends and our families will have the resources necessary to protect their safety and security and provide a level of clarity during an uncertain time,” they said.

“If you don’t need an item in the next two weeks, leave it for someone who does. Hoarding and stockpiling creates unnecessary gaps between the time that someone who truly needs a product can find it back on retailers’ shelves. This is particularly important for our most vulnerable neighbors — the elderly and those who are struggling with other health issues.

“Hoarding products only contributes to the fear surrounding the virus, and any hoarder acting with malicious intent to drive up prices on a secondary market should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“We know this is a challenging time for everyone. But by partnering against fear and doubt, shopping responsibly and following important instructions on how we can help stop the spread of this virus, we will successfully face this challenge. Together.”


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