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Why has toilet paper run out during the pandemic?

Since toilet paper is bulky and not profitable, retailers don’t keep a lot of inventory on hand.

Why has toilet paper run out during the pandemic?

Blame the empty shelves on hoarders who stockpiled the plush paper goods. During a two-day period in March, online and in-store sales shot up a whopping 845% as states announced stay-at-home orders, according to NCSolutions, a data and consulting firm.

Since toilet paper is bulky and not profitable, retailers don’t typically keep a lot of inventory on hand. That makes it hard for them to keep up when demand suddenly surges.

Americans are also using more toilet paper at home now, instead of at places like offices and schools. Yet companies can’t just redirect supplies of the big institutional rolls, which are manufactured and packaged differently.

Demand has since softened and retailers including Kroger are limiting the number of rolls customers can buy at once, so it should be easier to find rolls on shelves these days.

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Also flying off the shelves are disinfectants that help prevent the spread of coronavirus. So, when will these products expected to be restocked and back in stores?

Experts told CNN and USA Today it could be a few more months before high demand items like wipes and hand sanitizers are available in stores again.

Both reports said sales of aerosol disinfectants multipurpose cleaners significantly jumped from a year ago, but still, people are scouring the internet and store shelves for more products.

Patrick Penfield, a professor of supply chain management at Syracuse University, told CNN that he didn't expect supplies to be restocked on shelves until July.

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Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto