By Gavin Gibbon
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi said UAE is "infinitely" able to supply everyone with food and medicine
Carrefour has revealed a 59 percent increase in new customers onto its online platform, as shoppers choose to go down the digital route during the current coronavirus crisis.
The supermarket giant also told Arabian Business that its online business witnessed a 32 percent increase in the first two weeks of March, compared to the same period the previous month.
A spokesperson for Carrefour UAE said: “To cater to increased demand for delivery orders, we’ve opened six new fulfilment centres across the region. We’re also replenishing stocks more frequently and increasing resources at our fulfilment centres to guarantee timely delivery to our customers who do choose to shop online.”
Increasing restrictions on movement across the world as the coronavirus spread has prompted mass hysteria in supermarkets and panic buying of items such as hand sanitizer and toilet rolls.
However, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, moved to reassure the public on Wednesday by stressing there are no shortages of supplies.
He said: “Our officials in charge know pretty well that medications and food supplies are a red line in the UAE. I’d like to reassure every citizen and resident of the UAE that our country is infinitely able to supply everyone with all the food and medicine they could ever need. We are well prepared to face any challenge that arises.”
Nader Amiri, Founder of el Grocer, told Arabian Business they had increased deliveries two and even threefold in order to keep up with demand.
He said: “There has been a noticeable increase in both the transactions, as well as the average basket size. We do see a perspective of some stock up, but I think it's also driven by the fact that people are spending more time at home and consuming more.”
The company has seen “big increases” in home care (cleaning products), personal hygiene (soaps, sanitizers and wipes), water and other beverages, staples (rice, pasta, eggs, milk etc.), and proteins (meat, chicken, seafood), followed by increases also in: snacks (biscuits, vhocolates etc.), cooking related condiments (spices, creams, seasonings etc.), diapers and baby food, cereals, canned food, and tea and coffee.
Amiri added: “Working with our supermarket and hypermarket and seeing things live, I can echo the assurances that there is no need for any panic as stores are well stocked. Even if things may run out temporarily for a few hours or so, they are being replenished as it's just a matter of supply chain coping with the speed of demand.”
Online fruit, vegetable, dairy and meat distributor Kibsons said they had received a significant increase in orders and quantities, the most popular being meat, seafood, pasta, rice, flour and pulses.
Halima Jumani, head of operations told Arabian Business: “While we have seen a significant rise in quantities per order and the number of orders as a whole, this has not affected our ability to fulfill our customers' orders. We are committed to providing the best service to UAE residents at this difficult time.”