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Supermarkets bring back purchase limits after ‘very large spike’ in demand

Coles and Woolworths have both reinstated purchase limits to curb panic buying, just days after removing them.

Both supermarkets said stores experienced an influx of shoppers after Melbourne’s second lockdown was announced on Tuesday afternoon.

“There was a very large spike yesterday after the announcement around the lockdown,” Coles CEO Matt Swindles told Neil Mitchell.

“Last night was quite concerning … We really did go from zero to 100 across a number of our stores.”

But the CEOs of both major supermarkets say demand has subsided today.

“This morning it’s busy but steady,” Mr Swindles said.

“There are a lot more shoppers around than we would normally see.”

“In this stage of lockdown we’re seeing our customers being a lot more sensible,” Woolworth CEO Brad Banducci said.

Coles has reintroduced buying limits on 20 products in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, which are facing lockdown from 11.59pm Wednesday.

Woolworths has also reinstated purchase limits on 27 products Victoria-wide.

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Coles has a one item limit on toilet paper and two item purchase limits on: pasta, flour, milk (fresh and long-life), frozen vegetables, frozen fruit, tissues, hand sanitiser, rice, sugar, chicken breast, chicken thigh, eggs, mince, frozen chips, frozen desserts, paper towels and liquid soap.

Woolworths has introduced two item limits on toilet paper and paper towel, nationwide. In Victoria there are also two pack limits on: flour, sugar, pasta, mince, milk (long-life and fresh), eggs, rice, frozen vegetables, frozen potatoes, frozen fruit, frozen fish, frozen poultry, sausages, burgers, frozen pizza, frozen party snacks, frozen meals, frozen seafood, chilled juice and tissues.