Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens have announced restrictions on purchases of Covid-19 test kits for the home due to increasing US demand fueled by the Christmas season and the proliferation of the Omicron variant.

Walmart said Tuesday there is “extremely high demand” for home test kits and while it has “strong national inventories”, online stocks are “more limited”.

Accordingly, a purchase limit of eight test kits per online order comes into effect, the world’s largest retailer said in an email to the Financial Times. Individual stores could “set their own limits based on local inventory”.

CVS sets a similar cap, with both in-store and online customers limited to six test kits per purchase. Due to the recent surge in demand and to get community-based access to test kits in their physical stores, “these products may be temporarily out of stock” on their website, the pharmacy chain said in an email with a statement to the FT.

Rival Walgreens places a four-item limit on purchase of home test kits from the chain’s physical and online stores.

Demand for the rapid test kits rose after Thanksgiving and continued into this week, leading to the introduction of a cap “to improve inventory while we continue to work diligently with our supplier partners to best serve customer needs,” said Walgreens spokeswoman Emily Hartwig-Mekstan told CNBC on Tuesday.


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