Factories shift operations in scramble to restock supermarket shelves

MELISSA FARES, LISA BAERTLEIN | March 16, 2020

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With supermarkets stripped of food and many other essentials, consumer product companies halted factory runs of niche items such as scented bleach in order to speed up production of more basic merchandise that is in high demand. Brick-and-mortar retailers have warned that hoarding toilet paper, cleaning supplies and food staples was fueling shortages. Amazon.com (AMZN.O), the biggest online retailer, said it sold out of many household staples after orders spiked. As the fast-spreading coronavirus continues to alarm consumers across Europe and the United States, Trump held a phone call on Sunday with 30 executives from grocery stores including Amazon.com’s Whole Foods, Target Corp (TGT.N), Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O) and Walmart Inc (WMT.N). Trump Administration official Larry Kudlow assured television news viewers that U.S. supply lines were “working pretty well.”

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