While “it won’t be business as usual,” Loblaw chief executive Galen Weston urged Canadians not to worry about food shortages, price hikes or store closures amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter sent on Monday, Weston repeatedly stressed that customers “do not worry” and that Loblaw is prepared to handle the ongoing crisis that has seen Canadians flock to grocery stores, wiping shelves clean of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Loblaw operates Canada’s largest grocery store chain, as well as Shoppers Drug Mart.
“First and foremost. Do not worry. We are not running out of food or essential supplies,” Weston said.
“Our supply chain and store teams are responding to the spikes in volume and quickly getting the most important items back on the shelf. Volumes are already normalizing somewhat, and we are catching up.”
Weston also sought to alleviate other concerns Canadians have raised regarding potential price hikes and store closures as the province and federal government reduce services in an effort to contain the coronavirus.
“We will not raise a single price on any item to take advantage of COVID-19,” Weston wrote.
“We have been in contact with both provincial and federal governments. We all agree that food and drug stores are essential services and we must do what we need to in order to keep them operating and serving every community in the days and weeks ahead.”
At the same time, Weston admitted that “it won’t be business as usual.” Some items – such as hand sanitizer – may take longer to restock. The company may limit the number of people allowed to enter stores at a single time, in order to maintain social distancing.
“All of us will face uncertainty and new challenges over the coming days.”
Last week, Loblaw lowered home delivery fees and eliminated pick-up fees for its click-and-collect service. But as the company grapples with a spike in demand, Weston encouraged those who are healthy, mobile and symptom free to “do your best to make it into store.”
“All of us will face uncertainty and new challenges over the coming days,” Weston said.
“Our stores and our services will be far from perfect. But, we will do everything in our power to make sure you have what you need for yourselves and your families.