Early morning senior shoppers at Woolworths, Ashgrove. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Early morning senior shoppers at Woolworths, Ashgrove. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Woolies limits everything in stores

Woolworths has just announced a major shake-up to its buying restrictions list, introducing a blanket two limit rule on everything in-store unless stated otherwise.

The supermarket giant has been battling unprecedented" demand amid the coronavirus crisis as panicked shoppers continue to strip stock from shelves quicker than it can be replenished.

As a result, Woolworths will be adopting a new system, it said today in a statement.

"As the situation continues to evolve, we've made some further changes to the maximum number of products customers can buy, in addition to any other limits already in place," it reads.

"There is now a per customer, per shop limit of two items from any single category on most packaged products across Woolworths Supermarkets and Metro stores and online. This means customers will only be able to buy two products from any single included category, regardless of the brand or variety. There are some exceptions where no limits remain, such as fruit and vegetables, fresh milk and baby food."

Woolworths have introduced major new buying restrictions, limiting everything to two per person unless stated otherwise. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Woolworths have introduced major new buying restrictions, limiting everything to two per person unless stated otherwise. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

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Fresh fruit and vegetables have been placed into the new "no limit" category along with meat (excluding mince), deli, bakery, seafood, fresh milk canned fish and drinks. Baby food also has no buying limits as well as cat and dog food and yoghurts. You can also buy unlimited amounts of Easter confectionery & merchandise.

One item limits remain on antibacterial wipes, baby wipes, paper towels, rice (2kg and above), serviettes and toilet paper.

Everything else falls under the two items per person rule.

The massive move comes as Coles added another item to its growing restrictions, capping the sale of chilled milk at two units per shopper.

"This includes all sizes of white dairy milk, plant-based non-dairy & goats milk sold chilled in our dairy fridges," the statement, shared on Twitter, read. The restriction applies to Coles Brand and branded varieties.

The supermarket already had eggs, chilled pasta, frozen vegetables and frozen desserts, mince, pasta, flour, dry rice, paper towels, paper tissues and hand sanitisers on its list - all of which are capped at two items per customer. Toilet paper remains limited to one pack per customer.

Coles has had the same issues, introducing new buying limits today to help tackle the problem. Picture: Naomi Jellicoe
Coles has had the same issues, introducing new buying limits today to help tackle the problem. Picture: Naomi Jellicoe

Aldi has also announced major changes in its stores, restricting shopping hours and introducing buying restrictions as well as code of practice when entering stores.

From today, store trading hours will be 9.30am - 7pm, unless other state and local trading restrictions apply.

Shoppers are now be restricted in buying dry pasta, flour, dry rice (excludes microwave rice), paper towels and hand sanitiser - all of which are now limited to two packs per customer.

Previously, Aldi had held off introducing grocery limits, only restricting shoppers to one pack of toilet rolls.

Aldi stores are also being stripped completely bare. Picture: Rohan Kelly
Aldi stores are also being stripped completely bare. Picture: Rohan Kelly

As a result of the dire situation, Australia's major supermarket chains have banded together to plead with customers to be considerate of each other and stop abusing staff, in the wake of mass panic buying and hoarding sparked by the spread of the coronavirus.

The call made in newspaper advertisements across the country on Wednesday comes after more footage emerged online of customers verbally attacking retail staff because they couldn't find the goods they wanted in-store.

Aldi, Coles, IGA and Woolworth said they were doing everything they could to get as much produce on shelves as possible, often under difficult circumstances.

"So we ask you to please be considerate in the way you shop," the ad reads. "We understand your concerns, but if you buy only what you need and stick to the product limits it helps everyone, especially the elderly and people with disability.

Woolworths has also told customers it will no longer be offering customers its "crate to bench" home delivery option as it introduces contactless delivery to help prevent the spread of the virus.

 

Woolworths has stopped its crate to bench deliveries, alerting customers via text. Picture: Supplied
Woolworths has stopped its crate to bench deliveries, alerting customers via text. Picture: Supplied

 

Panic buying sparked by the spread of coronavirus in Australia has seen supermarkets stripped of toilet paper, pasta, rice and frozen food, as well as tinned and other dried goods.

Continue the conversation @RebekahScanlan | rebekah.scanlan@news.com.au


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