Woolworths 'moves quickly' to meet surging demand after virus spikes

Woolworths has increased its online shopping capacity to meet increasing demand in Victoria.

The supermarket said in a statement on Friday, it has experienced a 40 per cent lift in online shopping demand across Melbourne in the past week.

There has also been more panic buying in Victoria due to increasing rates of coronavirus and fears of a second wave.

In response, Woolies will offer thousands more weekly online orders with dozens of new trucks to join its fleet of more than 200 Victorian vehicles and hundreds of couriers from on-demand delivery partners.

General view outside a Woolworths in Sunbury as people wait outside during sunrise.
People wait at sunrise for a Woolworths in Melbourne's suburb of Sunbury to open. Source: Getty Images

Woolworths director of e-commerce Annette Karantoni said the supermarket is aware it’s an “uncertain time” and the supermarket is “moving quickly” to make online shopping services available to more customers.

"Together with our on-demand courier partners, we can fulfil thousands of extra orders each week to help support the essential grocery needs of more Victorian customers online,” Ms Karantoni said.

“We also have our Community Pick up service, which allows customers to order groceries online for in-store collection either by themselves, a family member, friend or neighbour.

“While we have healthy stock levels to draw on, we’ve taken the precautionary step of reinstating online purchase limits on select categories to ensure our customers have fair access to key essentials.”

Woolworths re-introduced purchasing limits earlier this week for Victoria. It followed fear of more panic buying occurring in supermarkets.

It reimposed a two per-person limit on toilet paper, hand sanitiser, paper towel, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, UHT milk, eggs and rice across its Victorian stores on Wednesday afternoon.

Empty shelves in an Australian supermarket after panic buying due to the coronavirus in Melbourne.
Empty shelves at a Melbourne Woolies after the first wave of panic buying. Source: Getty Images

The move is in response to “significantly elevated demand seen over the past 24 hours in certain parts of Melbourne,” according to a press release.

The limits will also apply to online orders.

Both Woolies and Coles are yet to impose nationwide purchasing limits though.

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