Costco Sees High Demand for Basics Rice, Flour

CEO attributes run to customer uncertainty over food supplies
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2008 9:56 PM CDT
"There's been an increase in purchasing but we think it's manageable," Costco's CEO says of demand for rice and flour. "At the moment, we think we have it relatively under control."   (AP Photo/Color China Photo)
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(Newser) – Costco is seeing unusually high demand for basics such as rice and flour, Reuters reports, a development the warehouse giant attributes to customer uncertainty over global food shortages. The company, which sells to individual shoppers as well as restaurants, has put limits in place for those items at some stores. Customers are apparently stocking up amid heavy media coverage of a global food crunch.

"If a customer came in and said, 'I want 10 pallets of flour, we'd probably say, 'No, we can't give you that," said CEO Jim Sinegal. "'We can give you one pallet.' If somebody is buying a reasonable quantity, we let them have it."