This year, however, not all the supermarkets were ready for the rush.
The Grocer surveyed stores from each supermarket group last Thursday, assessing availability of bleach, toilet cleaner & blocks, household cleaners, specialist cleaners and floor and furniture polish. The bouquets go to Somerfield, with just 2.5% out of stock, or at risk, on promoted lines and 7.72% out of stock on non-promoted lines. The worst performers were Safeway and Tesco, with a whopping 38% and 30% of their promoted lines out of stock respectively and 10% and 11% of their non-promoted lines.
Apart from Asda, which reported a modest 10% of its promoted lines out of stock, the others did not fare well. At Morrisons 20% of its promoted lines were out of stock and at Sainsbury 27%.
The differences in product range were equally revealing. Asda stores displayed an average range of 184 products. Safeway had 189 products. However, with 38% of its promoted lines out of stock the range was not much consolation. Tesco stocked 138 products on average. It posted similar out of stocks to Safeway but used the space better, with inefficiency scores of 66%.
Tesco needs to either devote more space to the product sector or have a smaller product range. Safeway on the other hand needs to re-sort the lines to give more space to the products in greater demand.
With the best availability scores and the most efficient use of space, Somerfield formula appears the most successful. But with just half the product range of the majors, maybe that's why.