Woolworths has suspended click and collect services across Australia amid the coronavirus crisis, as it tries to stock up following an “exceptional” spike in sales.
Woolworths has suspended click and collect services across Australia amid the coronavirus crisis, as it tries to stock up following an "exceptional" spike in sales.
The supermarket giant confirmed it has also halted home delivery in Victoria, after Premier Daniel Andrews declared a state of emergency earlier today.
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Panic buying in recent weeks sparked by the spread of COVID-19 in Australia has seen supermarkets stripped of toilet paper, pasta and tinned and other dried goods.https://twitter.com/woolworths/status/1239358641410420736?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
In a press conference today, Woolworths reassured shoppers that it's not worried about supplies and confirmed that toilet paper is on the way.
It said manufacturers are now producing smaller packs so everybody can buy some.
The supermarket also said casual staff will be paid if they need to take time off due to the virus, and special 'care packages" will be given to the vulnerable who can't make it into store.
Home delivery is still available for "the majority of products" in the rest of Australia, but there will be delays and changes to the usual two-hour delivery windows, the retailer warned.
"We have suspended click and collect pick up in all of our states, and home delivery in Victoria," Woolworths Managing Director Claire Peters said.
"We will be reviewing that on a day-by-day point of view."
HELP FOR VULNERABLE
Ms Peters also confirmed it will open all stores early daily for an hour, for the elderly and other concession card holders only, from 7am tomorrow.
Access will be granted every day if the shopper has a relevant government issued concession card.
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All other shoppers will be granted access after 8am.
Ms Peters said despite the retailer's attempts to quickly restock shelves, many elderly customers had continued to miss out.
"This temporary measure will give them, and those with a disability, the opportunity to shop before our stores officially open - helping them obtain the essential items they need most in a less crowded environment," she said.
They're getting more trucks on the road, working with suppliers, she said, and are asking Australians to remember the community spirit during this year's bushfires.
"Now - more than ever - we need to be kind to each other," Ms Peters said.
TOILET PAPER AND ESSENTIALS
Ms Peters said the supermarket sold seven weeks' worth of toilet paper in just one day last week.
She also added it is now working on getting more onto shelves.
"The demand is just so much significantly higher than supply," she said.
"There's great support from all of our supplies. They've also changing lines to a different pack size so more customers can get their hands on a pack."
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She reassured shoppers, saying the supermarket does not have any concerns over supplies.
She said they aim to "slow the panic down" and use sales data to see what customers need.
So staff can restock shelves properly, all Woolworths will close at 8pm on Wednesday.
"What we're facing now is that short-term spike and all that product is coming back through our supply chain over the next couple of days," she said.
"In Australia we do not have a concern over a supply of our products."
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Council of Small Business CEO Peter Strong said it was tough times in the retail sector due as the virus continues to spread.
"We are planning for when people don't come into the shop. We are talking about workplace relations, we are talking about how do we work with our staff," he told Today.
Mr Strong pleaded with shoppers not to panic and to look after each other.
"Don't run around the place screaming, there is no need," he said.
"We are going through a crisis like we have never seen before and we have to do it together and support each other."
Meanwhile, the small national supermarket chain IGA is considering whether to roll out a pensioners-and-seniors-only shopping hour across its 1300 Australian stores.
The idea is being trialled at an IGA in Melbourne's Altona with a shopping hour between 6am to 7am.
"I would think that we could make a decision as a network in the next 24-48 hours," IGA Chief Executive Fred Harrison told Today.
"(Yesterday) I went into our Mount Eliza store and a customer I knew came up and spoke to me and said that senior lady down the aisle is absolutely crying her eyes out.
"I said, 'why, what is wrong'? She said she had been in eight consecutive mornings to buy toilet roll, we had none and she was beside herself."
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- Reported with AAP
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-woolworths-to-introduce-elderly-only-shopping-hour/1704e12a-cbd3-4a16-879e-1b0b8dabca6b