Thursday, October 29, 2020

Aldi and Lidl stopped the sale of “middle aisle” products deemed non-essential after the Government threatened a clampdown on retailers flouting Level 5 restrictions.

The two grocery chains had resisted calls last week to block shelves selling children’s toys, clothes, homewares and other items.

Business leaders warned smaller shops obeying the rules could reopen in a campaign of disobedience.

In response, Tánaiste and Minister for Business Leo Varadkar warned big supermarkets against “not lawful” practices. He said the Garda would enforce the regulations banning the sale of non-essential items.

Representatives of the major supermarkets held a conference call with Minister of State Damian English, who has responsibility for the retail sector, on Wednesday for further clarity over the Level 5 restrictions.

Following the meeting, Aldi issued a statement saying it was postponing the sale of all non-essential goods in its weekly “special buys and middle-aisle promotions” for the duration of the tightened restrictions.

“In line with Government guidance, we have decided to postpone all non-essential product Specialbuys promotions,” a spokesman said.

“One-off Specialbuys offers on essential products will continue to be placed on sale each Thursday and Sunday. Thank you for your co-operation and patience during these challenging times.”

Christmas decorations

A spokeswoman for Lidl told The Irish Times that it “will not be putting on sale any items that are deemed non-essential – eg Christmas decorations, casual clothing and toys.”

“We are also in the process of removing from sale any residual stock of previous non-essential promotions,” she added.

“We will continue to sell items that are classed as essential eg for upkeep of residence and businesses, safety clothing, repair and maintenance of cars and bikes etc in our middle aisles.

“We hope to put any cancelled items on sale at a later date, in line with restrictions being lifted and customers can keep up to date through our social media channels and website.”

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