Ocado suspends orders as demand surges

19 March 2020

Online retailer Ocado has suspended its online orders as it faces “more demand for products and deliveries” than it can meet following coronavirus-related panic buying. 

Melanie Smith, CEO at Ocado Retail said the deliveries from the supermarket are “fully booked and at full capacity” with 170,000 households due to receive deliveries in the next four days. 

“As a result, we have made a decision to temporarily suspend access to Ocado.com for a few days in order to make some changes to our service. This will allow us to better serve our customers, particularly the vulnerable and elderly, 

“We’re managing a simply staggering amount of traffic to our website right now and more demand for products and deliveries than we can meet. Our first priority has to be to keep our service up and running and to play our part in feeding the nation,” she said. 

Smith added staff are “working round the clock” to keep up with high demand for products from its customers. Customers with existing deliveries booked will still receive them.

Earlier today Ocado's shares hit a five-year high.

The move comes as 12 UK supermarkets called on customers to shop considerately and avoid panic buying. The retailers said they are working at full capacity to keep the flow of supplies to their stores.

The Department for Transport has also relaxed driver rules in a bid to help supermarkets restock quickly. 

Meanwhile supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda have implemented restrictions on purchases to help keep shelves stocked. 

Both Tesco and Asda have limited customers to buying three of each product and Sainsbury’s is also closing its cafes, meat, fish and pizza counters in order to free up warehouse and lorry capacity for products.

In a letter to customers Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said: “We now have to accept it is not business as usual. In the last two weeks, we have seen significant and prolonged increases in demand across all of our stores and this is leading to shortages in some products for some customers.”

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