Coles and Woolworths take action to keep warehouses stocked

In a preventive measure to maintain stock levels across their warehouses, Coles and Woolworths have reinstated product buying limits due to a sudden demand for grocery items over the past 24 hours in certain parts of Melbourne.

Claire Peters, Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director said the leading supermarket has healthy stock levels to draw on, but its taking this precautionary step to help prevent excessive buying as seen during the peak of consumer ‘panic buying’ earlier this year.

“We understand many Victorians are anxious about the recent community outbreak, but they can be assured our stores will remain open with plenty of stock in our warehouses to replenish our shelves,” Claire said.

Woolworths confirmed a purchase limit of two items on toilet paper, hand sanitiser, paper towel, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, UHT milk, eggs and rice had been reinstated due to a “recent demand surge”.

The re-introduction of limits on select categories will also apply to online orders, however only for stores and online purchases in Victoria.

Meanwhile, Coles have re-introduced restrictions on similar grocery items, but have also applied the limits to stores in Lavington, Albury and Deniliquin in NSW too.

Matt Swindells, Coles chief operations officer  said the surge in product demand across Victorian stores began to develop at the weekend, before spiking on Monday.

“It was more of a small ripple that got a bit larger in the pond once the hotspots were clearly identified in the community and those stores began to accelerate demand on Monday,” he said.
“As soon as we get back to normal buying patterns, the sooner those restrictions can disappear.”
Coles Laverton DC cleared to continue operations
The announcement of product restrictions comes days after a staff member from Coles’ Laverton distribution centre in Victoria was confirmed positive for COVID-19.
On June 23, The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Coles’ Laverton distribution centre in Victoria was clear to continue operations.
Coles said in a statement that its distribution centre team members do not manually handle individual grocery products, which are packaged in larger crates and cartons during distribution.
“All Coles distribution centres including the Laverton site have thermal imaging cameras and hand-held contactless thermometers to check the temperature of all team members and transport providers prior to entering the facility,” Coles said in a statement.
“High-traffic areas are regularly sanitised and machinery operated by team members is sanitised between uses, while shift times have been adjusted to minimise the number of team members utilising break room facilities at the same time.”

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