Supermarkets make changes to cope with panic buying

Many Coast supermarkets have run out of toilet paper, tissues, hand sanitiser and other essential items

Coles and Woolworths Supermarkets have rolled out new measures for COVID-19 vulnerable customers.

Coles and Woolworths Supermarkets have both announced temporary additional shopping hours to ensure that those most at risk from Coronavirus can do their shopping without fear of missing out.
Both supermarket giants announced earlier this March that they’d be rolling out a dedicated shopping hour for the elderly, those living with disability and other groups deemed more at risk.

The move was prompted by unprecedented demand in supermarkets over the past few weeks, which has seen many vulnerable community members miss out on vitals like toilet paper and other essentials.

The shopping hour at both supermarkets will run from 7am to 8am with customers required to have a government issued Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Companion
Card or Health Care Card to be able to shop at this time.
Woolworths is trialling the shopping hour until March 20 and will subsequently review the measure.

Coles has not specified if its ‘Community Shopping Hour’ has an end date and has also announced it will be putting on 5000 new casuals to help meet demand on the shop floor, additional online delivery drivers and that it will make sweeping changes to its online shopping service.

“This temporary measure will give vulnerable people the opportunity to shop before our stores officially open, helping them obtain the essential items they need most in a less crowded environment,” said Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director, Claire Peters.

Coles CEO, Steven Cain said: “We believe all Australians deserve the right to access their share of grocery items, particularly the elderly and the vulnerable, who need some extra help during this challenging time.”
Meanwhile, Aldi Supermarkets have temporarily changed their trading hours to ensure staff and suppliers have adequate time to restock, deliver and clean stores as Coronavirus fuelled panic buying continues.

Aldi released an official statement on March 18, confirming stores would now be trading from 9:30am to 7pm for the foreseeable future.
“Our employees, business partners and transport operators have been working incredibly hard to deliver more products than ever into stores each day.

“We want to let you know that there is more than enough food to go around; we just need your patience and support.
“We will continue to re-evaluate these hours on a weekly basis and communicate the decision to either uphold these hours or return to normal trading hours.

“We appreciate that these new times may be an inconvenience and we thank you in advance for your understanding,” the statement reads.

Press releases, Mar 16
Woolworths Group Media
Coles Media
Media statement, Mar 18
Aldi Australia