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Computer monitors and other work-at-home essentials are in big demand in the coronavirus era

March 16, 2020, 10:44 PM UTC

This article is part of a Fortune Special Report: Business in the Coronavirus Economy—a look at the impact of the pandemic on more than 50 industries.

Only a few display-only computer monitors were left at a San Francisco Staples store on Monday. The location sold out of new ones over the weekend, something that one sales associate said never happens at that location.

But the sales surge isn’t limited to this particular Staples store in San Francisco. Both Staples and Best Buy Best Buy said they have seen a surge in sales of work-from-home products like laptops and keyboards since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Many office workers and students have been forced to quickly create home offices so they can telecommute or complete their online studies.

“As many of our customers’ working environments have been dramatically impacted with a significant shift to at-home work, Staples stores have seen an increased demand for computers, monitors, and technology,” said Michael Hurwitz, Staples U.S. retail vice president and general manager of merchandising, said in a statement.

Companies like Staples couldn’t quantify the increase in work-at-home essentials. But they did say that the rise is noticeable in recent days.

In recent weeks, big employers like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have asked their hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide to work from home. Meanwhile, many school districts and universities across the U.S. have moved to online classes, in many cases requiring students to rely on their personal devices to complete their work. 

But it appears that people are also stocking up on appliances to store their food as they stock up on their growing stash of groceries. Best Buy said it has also seen a surge in sales for refrigerators and freezers.

“Our teams are working hard to meet this demand,” said Carly Charlson, spokeswoman for Best Buy.

At the Staples in San Francisco, out-of-stock monitors were still available to order online. And that may come in handy, as Monday was the last day that Staples along with any other “non-essential business” will be open for business until April 7, according new requirements implemented by the city on Monday.

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