Toilet roll and painkiller sales surge as shoppers stockpile for Brexit

Shoppers are snapping up painkillers and toilet roll in a sign of consumer stockpiling ahead of Brexit, supermarket Morrisons has revealed.

David Potts, chief executive of the chain, said the group had seen a spike in sales of the essential household items.

When asked if Morrisons shoppers had started stockpiling to prepare for possible no-deal Brexit chaos, Mr Potts said: “We’ve seen quite a tick up in painkillers and toilet rolls this financial year.

“Whether that’s got any bearing on how people are feeling about the Brexit process, I don’t know.”

Sales of these items have risen by high single digits, the group said.

Mr Potts added that more generally the group had seen a “small amount of customers buying in” ahead of March 29 and added the supermarket was also stockpiling “cupboard fillers” to prepare for any disruption.

It comes after a recent survey found one in 10 shoppers claims to have started stockpiling food to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

The poll by industry share data firm Kantar Worldpanel also revealed a further 26% reporting that they are considering stocking up.

Mr Potts said Morrisons was preparing as best it can for any potential no-deal Brexit disruption, considering alternative routes into the country in case of queues at the ports.

He also said the firm had brought forward some purchases of goods and packaging materials to support its manufacturing division.

Morrisons has also secured Authorised Economic Operator status to help speed up border checks.

The firm’s comments provide the latest evidence of stockpiling across the country as firms and consumers prepare for the worst, with only 16 days to go until the country is due to leave the EU and with no sign of a deal in sight.

The Bank of England has noted evidence of stockpiling among British businesses and figures suggest the UK is running out of warehouse space as a result.

Three quarters of warehouse owners said their space was full to capacity after a jump of Brexit-related inquiries, according to a survey earlier this year by the The UK Warehousing Association.


-By Holly Williams, Press Association