In another sign the global food crisis is hitting North American consumers, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it is limiting sales of some kinds of rice at many Sam's Club warehouse-style stores in the United States due to "recent supply and demand trends."
Sam's Club customers can buy up to four bags of jasmine, basmati and other white long-grain rices, Wal-Mart said yesterday.
The news comes a day after Costco Wholesale Corp., the biggest U.S. warehouse-club operator, said customers worried about global food shortages were stocking up on rice and flour. Costco said it is not formally limiting sales but is watching supplies closely.
"There's been an increase in purchasing, but we think it's manageable," Costco CEO James Sinegal told Reuters news Agency. "At the moment, we think we have it relatively under control." If a customer "wants 10 pallets of flour, we'd probably say, `No, we can't give you that. We can give you one pallet,'" Sinegal said.
So far, no signs of shortages or hoarding have surfaced in Canada, spokespeople for Wal-Mart and Costco said yesterday.
Both Sam's and Costco cater to bulk buyers.