Woolies lifts some buying limits

Woolies has lifted buying limits on some items this week but don't expect to stock up on any toilet paper.

In an email to customers this afternoon, chief executive Brad Banducci said sales were up to 14.1 million rolls this week, more than last week's 11.5 million, but not at the highs of 20 million we saw a few weeks ago.

Limits were lifted on paracetamol and ibuprofen - both back to their normal limits of five per transaction - as well as cough and cold remedies and body wash.

It comes after panic-buying and stockpiling amid the coronavirus crisis across the country has abated.


"The demand surge of a few weeks ago is undoubtedly calming, with many people returning to buying what they need and signs also suggesting that the average Australian household has almost two weeks worth of typical pantry items at home," Mr Banducci told customers.

Mr Banduci said Woolworths had another 500,000 units of hand sanitiser coming in next week but with demand still up more than 1000 per cent year-on-year, supply would still be patchy.

This week the rollout of the new customer hand sanitiser stations in the entrance of stores was completed and clear protective screens were now at all staffed check-outs and self-service 'assisted' check-outs in 300 stores.

Woolworths stores are getting more toilet paper back in stock. Picture: Wayne Taylor
Woolworths stores are getting more toilet paper back in stock. Picture: Wayne Taylor


Mr Banducci said verbal and physical abuse from customers was now dramatically down.

"It's wonderful to see respect and kindness being shown to our team members and fellow Australians and a genuine thank you to all for your support in keeping us and each other safe," he said in the email.

He said looking at what customers were buying suggested many people were making the most of their time at home.

"If we were all bakers going into Easter, now, as winter looms, we are enjoying more warming comfort foods like soups and casseroles," he said.

"Dried herbs and spices are up by more than 70 per cent with dried soup mixes more than doubling. It's a trend we're also seeing at BIG W with kitchen appliances like slow cookers also seeing an uplift."

He said home beauty products were also popular right now, with hair colourants up 50 per cent and nail polish and removers up 40 per cent.

More people are also shopping online and delivery and pick up is back for all customers.

Community pick up is extremely popular, with 45,000 orders this week - up 15,000 on last week - allowing more people to pick up groceries for you and on behalf of someone else.

Originally published as Woolies lifts some buying limits