Some Hoe Street shops have more than doubled the normal price of essential items in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
A 9-pack of toilet roll in a Walthamstow shop was pictured selling for £10.99, while a pharmacy sold 125ml bottles of hand sanitiser for £7.49.
Shelves are emptying across London, particularly of goods such as toilet paper and bags of flour, reportedly being sold for £22 in one Newham store.
However, some stores claim they are only reacting to price hikes from their suppliers.
Khuram Mallick, head pharmacist for Pyramid Pharmacy, whose Hoe Street branch was spotted selling the £7.49 hand sanitiser, explained the price is “reflective of the price we have to pay for it”.
He added: “We do not normally stock that product as well, it was on that was made available.”
While the Redbridge Council leader has asked the Home Secretary for “swift action” on price hiking, Waltham Forest Council said they “do not condone” it but “don’t control the market”.
Cllr Naheed Asghar, cabinet member for health partnerships and poverty reduction, said: “We know that the majority of businesses in Waltham Forest are doing the right thing and supporting our residents in this difficult time.
“It is disheartening to see that a small minority of independent businesses are increasing prices of products that are in high demand.
“We, as a Council, do not condone this behaviour, however we don’t control the market.
“We are supporting those businesses doing the right thing through our #ShopLocalWF campaign, highlighting shops, restaurants, cafés and businesses that have put in place solutions to ensure all our residents can access their services safely.
My local independent chemist is more expensive than the chains but I have faithfully supported them for the last 10 years. They are repaying that support by charging £24.95 for a hand sanitizer. Is this legal or just capitalism? pic.twitter.com/oX7ngmvhOJ
— John Stealer (@JohnStealer) March 12, 2020
“In this difficult time, it’s important for businesses and residents to work together to ensure that the most vulnerable people have the support they need.
“We’re encouraging businesses to check out the help available, both nationally and locally, and keep up to date with the most recent information available on our website”
The store accused of selling toilet roll for £10.99 could not be reached for comment.