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Limits On Toilet Paper And Cleaning Supplies Are Back At Costco

The days of toilet paper shortages may not be over just yet: Costco has announced new limits on purchases of certain household items as supply chain issues bedevil the company and the delta variant spreads.

The company is putting "limitations on key items" such as toilet paper, bottled water and cleaning supplies so it can meet any uptick in demand due to the COVID-19 surge, Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said during the company's latest earnings call on Thursday.

He did not specify how many items customers would be allowed to buy.

"A year ago there was a shortage of merchandise," Galanti told investors during the call.

Now Galanti said the retailer has plenty of merchandise, but delivery delays are the issue, citing "short-term changes to trucking" and "delivery need" as the main factors.

In the meantime, Galanti said Costco is trying to stay ahead of the curve by continuing to place orders early to get stores what they need.

In an effort to address the delivery issues, Galanti told investors that the company has chartered three ocean vessels for the next year to transport several thousand containers between the U.S., Asia and Canada. Each ship will be able to carry 800 to 1,000 containers at a time.

The membership-only warehouse retailer said it has seen an increase in overall price inflation on its products this quarter, estimated to be between 3.5% and 4.5%, Galanti said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.