Coles' bold step after customers demand buying limits in stores

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Coles has been forced to reimpose purchasing limits in stores after frustrated shoppers called on supermarkets to act after a resurgence of panic buying due to a surging new coronavirus cluster.

Images have once again surfaced of supermarket shelves stripped bare of toilet paper in South Australia where there are now 20 probable or positive cases linked to a cluster in northern Adelaide.

One man was filmed inside a Coles supermarket appearing to stack his trolley to a towering height with several packs of Sorbent toilet paper.

A photo from the same store showed its toilet paper shelves completely empty.

Empty toilet paper shelves in Woolworths.
Woolworths has responded to calls for limits to be reimposed on essential items. Source: AAP

Coles forced to act after panic buying breaks out

Coles has opted to temporarily reimpose buying limits across all South Australian stores, including for online orders.

“Coles is implementing purchase limits in South Australia to ensure more customers have access to staple items,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

“Effective from today, the following limits apply at all Coles supermarkets and Coles Express stores in SA, as well as Coles Online orders for customers in SA: Toilet paper - 2 packs.

“The limits do not currently apply to any other states or products, however we will continue to monitor stock levels and ask that customers purchase only what they need.”

Customers had earlier pleaded with the supermarket to take action against people panic buying.

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“Oh come on Coles, be responsible and stop people hoarding essential supplies,” one shopper wrote to its Facebook page.

Someone else said they were confused after hearing that some stores were limiting products while others weren’t.

“Dear Coles, please get onto restriction buying in Adelaide. Don’t leave it until people are stressed. The selfish have struck already,” another posted to Twitter.

Woolworths shoppers demand limits on purchases

Woolworths shoppers have urged the supermarket to do something to “prevent panic buying”.

“Hey Woolies, surely you should have prevented panic buying today (Monday). For those of us who genuinely need to buy toilet paper this week with our shopping I suppose it’s just too bad huh?” one wrote.

“Stop people panic buying. What’s wrong with you Woolies? It’s gonna ruin Christmas for everyone.” another said.

Empty toilet paper shelves in Adelaide Coles.
Shelves were empty of toilet paper inside an Adelaide Coles on Monday. Source: Twitter

A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia that while they were monitoring the situation closely, there was no current need to impose buying limits on essential items like toilet paper.

“We experienced higher than usual demand for toilet paper across our South Australian stores yesterday,” they said.

“We’re sending triple the volume of toilet paper to stores as we did last Tuesday to ensure toilet paper is available for our customers.

“Customers are encouraged to buy only what they need, as we’ll continue to receive extra orders of stock in our stores regularly. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and reassess product limits if needed.”

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