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Stop and Shop's Online Orders Surge 33% Amid Coronavirus Anxiety

A Stop & Shop store. (Stephan Savoia/AP)
A Stop & Shop store. (Stephan Savoia/AP)

Among the many products and services seeing a surge in demand due to coronavirus anxiety purchasing, you can add this to the list: home-delivered groceries.

The grocery chain Stop & Shop is seeing a surge in demand for its online order and delivery service Peapod. Stop & Shop spokeswoman Jennifer Brogan said Peapod orders during the first week of March were 33% higher compared to the same week last year.

That increase is based on orders from stores across the five states in which Stop & Shop operates — Massachusetts (which, according to its website, has 134 stores), New York (106 stores), Connecticut (92 stores), New Jersey (62 stores) and Rhode Island (27 stores).

What makes the growth in delivery orders especially notable: during the first week of March 2019, Greater Boston was hit with a blizzard that dropped a foot of snow on the region, an event which might also be expected to bring a spike in online orders.

So what are people loading up on in the year of coronavirus fears? Hand sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towels, Lysol wipes, and bleach are extremely popular right now — so much so that the company has started limiting those items to five per customer, Brogan said.

The company is also advising delivery drivers to carry hand sanitizer and wipes in their vehicles and use them frequently, she said.

Another grocery chain, Star Market, is also trying to prevent a run products such as disinfectant sprays and hand wipes.

"We [are] asking customers to respect quantity limits of select, high-demand items to help ensure more customers will also be able to purchase the products that they need," spokeswoman Teresa Edington said.

"Customers should check with their local store about specific stock levels and purchase limits," she said. "As products run low, we are replenishing them just as soon as the supply chain allows."

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Adrian Ma is a reporter for WBUR's Bostonomix team.

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