Woolies is clamping down on toilet paper hoarders.
Despite risk experts advising Australians not to panic about the coronavirus outbreak, some people have been rushing to their closest supermarket to stock up on supplies, especially toilet paper.
Images of empty shelves have been popping up on social media, with the hashtag #panicbuying even trending on Twitter on Monday. The shortages have largely been caused by the panic buying itself – not any disruption to supply due to the coronavirus.
Toilet paper was one of the most popular items shoppers were lapping up.
Went to three different stores. Two coles and a Woolworths and they all looked exactly the same, or worse. Everywhere has no toilet paper. Hardly no pasta, sugar, flour or canned goods left either.
Looks like the toilet paper blitz has hit regional areas too, Stawell Woolworths shelves looking a bit empty
“Woolworths limits toilet paper sales as shoppers stock up amid coronavirus fears”
Thanks woolies! It’s good to know, especially when you have kids who go through toilet rolls like there’s no tomorrow. @woolworths https://twitter.com/i/events/1234971519282900992 …Woolworths limits toilet paper sales as shoppers stock up amid coronavirus fears523:29 – 3 Mar 2020Twitter Ads information and privacySee Maree Ma’s other Tweets
As a result, Woolworths has cracked down on toilet paper hoarders by setting a limit on how many packs you can buy.
You can only buy four packs of toilet paper, both in-store and online.
You know who can’t ‘panic buy’ and stockpile goods?
People on low incomes, living week to week on little cash.
Runs on essential items hurt people in poverty.
Please stop and think about others before you empty out the supermarket.#coronavirusaustralia #corona #panicbuying
“It will help shore up stock levels as suppliers ramp up local production and deliveries in response to higher than usual demand,” Woolworths said in a statement.
“Our teams are continuing to work hard on restocking stores with long-life food and groceries from our distribution centres.”
Newy, I thought we were better than this.
The supermarket added that the “vast majority” of its products will remain available as normal.
“We apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused by temporary stock shortages and thank them for their patience.”
Coles told Business Insider Australia via email that despite some shortages, most of its products in store and online will be available.
Toilet paper available on all Virgin Australia flights today #ToiletPaperGate
“Coles is in ongoing contact with suppliers, government stakeholders and transport partners to determine how best to improve availability on popular products, such as long-life pantry staples and healthcare items,” a Coles spokesperson said.
“We have increased deliveries from our distribution centres and our teams are working hard to fill the shelves as quickly as possible. While there may be some temporary stock shortages, the vast majority of products in our stores and via Coles online remain available for customers.”
Welcome to Australia – the land of toilet paper hoarders. I feel so embarrassed by this – after Australia came together to help bushfire victims, when it comes to a potential viral epidemic, we become selfish idiots #toiletpapergate #ToiletPaperApocalypse #coronavirusaustralia https://twitter.com/10daily/status/1234969638414376965 …10 daily✔@10DailyStaff block off the aisle as they frantically replenish toilet paper supplies at Coles Hornsby last night. #toiletpapergate : Russell Neale108:59 – 4 Mar 2020Twitter Ads information and privacySee Soph’s other Tweets
There is no risk of shortages, says the Australian Retailers Association
Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association, said in a statement that while shoppers might find shelves empty for a certain product, “warehouse inventories remain high”. He added that there aren’t any risks of shortages and if there are, it’ll be temporary.
“We’re comfortable there’s no risk to the availability of food or household essentials; with major retailers maintaining high inventories, if a brand you wish to purchase isn’t available today, it’ll probably be back on the shelf tomorrow,” he said.
No square to spare in Australia as stores cap toilet paper ‘panic buying’ over coronavirus https://reut.rs/2ToESXn
9902:10 – 4 Mar 2020Twitter Ads information and privacy118 people are talking about this
Zimmerman also urged Australians “to go about their business as per usual at present.”
According to Lifehacker, Australia has three major toilet paper suppliers. These include ABC Tissue – the parent company of Quilton – Asaleo, which owns the Purex brand, and Kimberly-Clark Australia, the parent company of Kleenex.
Gallery: Coronavirus around the world (Photos)
Slide 1 of 95: A medical worker sprays disinfectant at Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center where patients of the novel coronavirus disease of COVID-19 receive treatment in Daegu, South Korea, March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-HoonNext SlideFull Screen1/95 SLIDES © Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters A medical worker sprays disinfectant at Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center in Daegu, South Korea, on March 4.
A Kimberly-Clark Australia spokesperson told Lifehacker Australia that while its Kleenex toilet paper in Australia is seeing more demand, the company has “sufficient supply”.
Hand sanitiser was also in high demand
In February, Coles told Business Insider Australia its handwash and hand sanitisers were running low amid coronavirus fears. The company, at the time also expected shortages for other non-food related products.
“Products such as antibacterial handwashes and hand sanitiser products are already low in stock and there are shortages forecast for non-food items like stationery, clothing, [and] electrical goods,” a Coles spokesperson said. “Coles has also experienced delays in refrigeration equipment being shipped out of China for our store renewals.”