NTUC FairPrice sets purchase limits on daily essentials, assures adequate supplies available

Customers at NTUC FairPrice Finest at Clementi Mall on 17 March 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — NTUC FairPrice has set purchase limits for various daily essential items after its stores experienced high traffic following Malaysia’s imposition of movement controls.

The precautionary measure - effective on Tuesday (17 March) - is to discourage resellers, FairPrice said in a statement on the same day.

The purchase limits for the following daily essentials items are:

- Paper products: Four units per customer (toilet paper, facial tissues, kitchen towels)

- Instant noodles / pasta: Two units per customer

- Rice: Two bags per customer

- Vegetables: $30 per customer

- Fresh poultry: $30 per customer

- Eggs: Three packs of 10s or One tray of 30s per customer

Some of the restrictions from the list were instituted earlier to curb stockpiling. Customer feedback on the purchase limits then had been positive and encouraging, FairPrice said.

While customers are concerned over the announcement by the Malaysian government on Monday night, the co-operative assured that it imports from over 70 countries around the world with product categories from Malaysia complemented by similar categories from other countries.

“FairPrice employs an ongoing strategy of source diversification, working with suppliers from multiple countries, to ensure that the community has a stable supply of daily essentials at affordable prices.”

In addition, FairPrice practises stockpiling to ensure undisrupted supplies in the event of crisis. In recent months, it has increased its inventory holding for certain categories of products.

Following the announcement in Malaysia, several FairPrice stores experienced high traffic, with customers buying items like toilet paper, canned food, instant noodles, vegetables, and eggs.

Compared with the panic buying witnessed when the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) was raised to orange in early February, it was observed that checkout queues at FairPrice outlets were more orderly and customers were buying more responsibly.

Seah Kian Peng, Group CEO, FairPrice Group, said, “While there may be concerns regarding the latest movement restriction order from Malaysia, we want to assure Singaporeans that we have sufficient stocks. We thank customers for the confidence they have in us and appreciate that shoppers have been buying in a more measured and responsible manner; purchasing only what they need.”

FairPrice is also stepping up its delivery runs from its warehouses in Singapore to stores to minimise inconvenience to customers.

Seah added, “Our staff continue to work hard to serve the community and replenish high demand items. We appreciate customers’ understanding and patience during this time.”

His comments come after Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing assured Singaporeans on Monday night that the country is “not in danger” of running out of food or other supplies brought in by local retailers.

He said in addition to building up Singapore’s inventory of food and essential supplies, the country has a “robust multi-pronged strategy” to ensure it does not run out of essentials. 

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