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by Paul Davidson
A top Clorox executive says retail shelves won’t be well-stocked with the company’s popular disinfectant wipes until mid-2021 as feverish demand during the COVID-19 pandemic continues to outstrip supply.
“People are suffering, Covid is surging, but everything we know right now – we probably won’t be back in the type of in-stock positions, or you know, what people are used to going to the store, until mid-2021,” Clorox Chief Operating Officer Eric Reynolds said in an interview airing Thursday night on NBC Nightly News.
His comments mark the third time this year the company has pushed back the time frame for easing nationwide shortages. In May, Clorox officials said they expected substantial improvement in supplies by last summer. Then in August, an executive said stocking up would take at least until the end of 2020.
“We know that consumers are very frustrated with us,” Reynolds told NBC News’ Vicky Nguyen in the interview airing Thursday. “We hear from them all the time. We are frustrated, too.”
“People are working overtime to take care of their families, to educate their kids, and they turn to us for help… We are producing more wipes than ever, but the demand is staying in incredible high levels.”
For months, shoppers across the country have scoured the internet and store shelves for Lysol sprays and Clorox wipes only to find shelves picked clean after households stocked up on cleaning products to protect against infection. Wipes were among the first products to be hit by pandemic-related shortages, along with toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
Manufacturers such as Clorox weren’t prepared for soaring demand in a sleepy sector with reliably steady sales that usually fluctuate only during flu season.
In the NBC interview, Reynolds said the company plans to significantly ramp up production, and by February it will make and ship 1.5 million canisters and packages of wipes daily.