Ukraine war sparks Europe rush to buy survival gear and food

By Emma Thomasson and Helena Soderpalm

BERLIN/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Europeans are stocking up on survival gear like sleeping baggage and tenting cookers, in addition to canned and dried meals, partly to donate to refugees arriving from Ukraine and in addition as a result of fears of provides being disrupted and battle spreading.

Gross sales of merchandise similar to plastic cans, tenting gear, batteries, flashlights and cellular phone photo voltaic chargers jumped as a lot as sixfold up to now two weeks at Swedish ironmongery store chain Clas Ohlsson, a spokesperson mentioned.

“It is clear that individuals need to be ready for crises. The largest enhance is for merchandise advisable to have at residence throughout a disaster, for instance radios,” he mentioned.

Gross sales of milk powder, pasta, grains, and canned meals rose by as much as 20% up to now 4 weeks, in response to Swedish grocery retailer Ica Gruppen.

Customers are stocking up for themselves whereas humanitarian organizations are additionally shopping for merchandise to ship to Ukraine, in response to Ica Sweden buying director Andreas Sbrodigliga.

Within the Netherlands, Jimmy Bakker at outside provider Dumpstore Amsterdam, has seen brisk commerce because the warfare began.

“When the warfare broke out folks had been shopping for emergency blankets, emergency meals rations, radios and stoves. Final week, folks rented automobiles they usually had been going to drive to Ukraine at hand on the market,” he mentioned.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s feedback that Moscow’s nuclear deterrent is on excessive alert had already prompted folks in Central Europe to hurry to purchase iodine which they consider could defend them from radiation.

In Poland, which has taken in additional than half of the three million refugees fleeing Ukraine, comfort retailer chain Zabka reported greater gross sales of canned items, rice, groats and bottled water in some areas as a result of collections for refugees.

Hygiene merchandise like moist wipes, gels, soaps, toothpastes and porridges are additionally flying off the cabinets in Poland, in response to drugstore chain Rossmann.

In Germany, the place 175,000 refugees from Ukraine have been registered to date, gross sales of tenting merchandise like sleeping baggage and mats have jumped up to now two weeks at sports activities chain Decathlon, a spokesperson mentioned.

The corporate mentioned it has additionally donated tenting merchandise to humanitarian organisations serving to in Ukraine.


German wholesaler Metro has quickly set a cap on the quantity buyers should purchase of sure merchandise, similar to cooking oils and flour, however mentioned it sees no cause for shoppers to stockpile, including contemporary provides are on the way in which.

“We’re presently observing excessive demand from our business clients for numerous long-life meals, which might be attributed to the acquisition of aid provides, amongst different issues,” a spokesperson mentioned.

Ukraine is a significant world producer and exporter of grain and vegetable oils, however officers and farmers count on a decline within the 2022 harvest and exports because of the warfare.

Germany’s BGA commerce affiliation warned final week that the Ukraine warfare may trigger bottlenecks within the meals commerce in addition to threaten provides of bathroom paper and kitchen roll, and chemical cleansing brokers.

    Transport issues had been exacerbated by greater gas prices and a scarcity of Ukrainian truck drivers, it mentioned.

Nonetheless, most retailers have bolstered their provide chains since COVID-19 lockdowns triggered panic shopping for in 2020.

“We dwell in troublesome instances, however in the mean time there isn’t a room for panic,” Dimitar Margaritov, Chairman of Bulgaria’s Shopper Safety Fee, instructed nationwide radio.

Dutch retailer Ahold Delhaize mentioned it noticed greater gross sales at its shops within the Czech Republic as a result of folks shopping for donations for refugees, however no trigger for concern.

“Our provide chain in Europe is sort of strong at this level and we now have sufficient merchandise for our clients in inventory and at our suppliers,” the corporate mentioned.

(Further reporting by Anthony Deutsch, Anna Pruchnicka, Siddharth Cavale, Richa Naidu, Matthias Inverardi, writing by Emma Thomasson, modifying by Alexandra Hudson)

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