Walmart reports shortages of toilet paper and cleaning supplies at some stores


By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business

Nov 17, 2020


New York (CNN Business)Shoppers are once again loading up on paper goods and cleaning supplies in areas of the United States hard hit by rising coronavirus infections, leading to empty shelves at some Walmart stores.


Officials at Walmart (WMT), the largest retailer in the country, said Tuesday that supply chains have not kept up with rising demand, and these goods have been harder to stock consistently in locations with sharp spikes in new virus cases. The United States has recorded more than 100,000 daily infections for two weeks straight, and on Monday reported more than 166,000 new cases.


"We do see big differences, depending on the communities that you're in," Walmart US CEO John Furner said on a call with analysts Tuesday after Walmart reported its quarterly earnings. "The specific categories where we have the most strain at the present time would be bath tissue and cleaning supplies."


Walmart CEO Doug McMillon called it "disappointing" to see "as many out-of-stocks as we have in consumables right now generally," although he said the situation had improved since the spring. He stressed that Walmart was better prepared to handle the demand than it was earlier in the year.


"It feels to me like we'll work through this period of time better than we did in the first wave," McMillon said.


Walmart has not implemented a storewide policy on purchase limits for customers. But store managers have the authority to "implement item limits based on their specific store experience to help sustain product availability," said Delia Garcia, spokesperson for Walmart, in an email.


The retailer also recently resumed counting the number of customers inside its stores as a safety precaution.

Several other leading grocery chains have reimposed limits...