United Kingdom

How Kmart's shelves will be empty for TWO MONTHS

The shelves of Kmart will be empty for up to two months after they were stripped bare by overzealous shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Retailers Kmart, Target and Big W have struggled to replenish home improvement products and kitchenware after COVID-19 lockdowns prompted a spike in sales as consumers were forced to stay at home.

Household items including cake tins, blenders, candles and chopping blocks have been sold out in major Sydney stores in Chatswood, Bondi Junction and Pagewood.

But retail bosses say shelves won't be restocked until the end of July because the low-cost items are mass produced in China - ground zero of the global pandemic. 

The shelves of Kmart will be empty for up to two months after the shelves were stripped bare during the coronavirus pandemic (pictured in late May)

Commsec chief economist Craig James told 9 News the shortage is a byproduct of Australia's dependency on foreign imports. 

'Australia is one of the most dependent countries in the world on China. Something like 38 per cent of exports go to China and something like a third of our imports come from China,' he said.

The supply chain fell into disarray as workers went into lockdown, worsened by the run on goods with Australian restaurants closed during the pandemic.

Commsec chief economist Craig James said the shortage is a byproduct of Australia's dependency on foreign imports (pictured, a Sydney store)

Kmart has sold out of games, candles and cake tins and chopping blocks at many of its stores

Kmart, Target and Big W said office, furniture and kitchen stocks should be replenished by the end of July


Home office equipment:  mid-July

Furniture and accessories: mid to end of July

Kitchen and dining:  mid-July

Nursery:  end of June

Bikes and exercise equipment: end of July

Source: Kmart 

'China is one of the biggest manufacturers of that type of product, particularly for discount department stores,' QUT Business School's Associate Professor Gary Mortimer told 9 News.

'That's one of the drawbacks from sourcing overseas - if there's a stoppage overseas you start to have a significant impact on your supply product.'

Angry customers vented their frustrations on social media.

'Stop buying from China and make our own here in Australia,' one man suggested.

'Everyone wants to buy Australian until they see the cheaper Chinese product sitting next to it,' another Twitter user pointed out.

'Should we panic buy?' someone else asked.

Kmart, Target and Big W said stocks should be replenished by the end of July. 

'Our teams have been working tirelessly to bring stock orders forward and to secure additional stocks in categories where we have experienced a spike in popularity,' a Kmart spokesperson told the publication. 

'This includes pushing through shipping earlier of finished products that may be prepared earlier than expected.' 

Families lining up to enter Kmart amid coronavirus lockdowns (pictured, in Chatswood). Shoppers stripped the shelves bare

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