Woolworths warns of product shortages as staff crisis escalates

For our free coronavirus pandemic coverage, learn more here.

Supermarket giant Woolworths has revealed more than 20 per cent of staff at some of its stores are missing work because of the coronavirus as it battles to keep products in stock.

Chief executive Brad Banducci issued a note to online shoppers on Friday, informing them that the company would automatically substitute new products where one was out of stock at their store due to products missing from warehouses and shelves.

Woolworths boss Brad Banducci has revealed the number of staff at his company in isolation.Credit:Wolter Peeters

“Unlike the surge buying of early 2020 (who could forget the toilet paper), this is because of the number of people in our supply chain in isolation – from suppliers to truck drivers and distribution centre team members – which in turn is causing material delays to store deliveries,” Mr Banducci said.

He said that in some Woolworths distribution centres more than 20 per cent of staff were absent while more than 10 per cent were missing in some stores.

NSW had the most absences, Mr Banducci said, as the state’s COVID-19 numbers rose to 38,625 on Friday. Woolworths did not offer an estimated time for the system to return to normal, saying the country was in an Omicron wave.

“We understand how frustrating it is when you can’t find the product you’re looking for and, together with our suppliers and supply chain partners, we’re working hard to get all products back on shelf as quickly as we can (including Rapid Antigen Tests),” Mr Banducci said.

He reassured his customers the company had enough produce in stock overall and within each category.

“We would of course also ask you to keep shopping as you normally would and to continue to show kindness to our teams,” he said.

Earlier this week Coles introduced buying limits on some meat products and rapid antigen tests in an effort to spread out its stock among more customers as it also deals with staff in isolation.

In NSW and Victoria, staff who encounter COVID-19 at work but remain well do not have to isolate. However, people who have the virus or are a household contact still need to quarantine.

The Business Briefing newsletter delivers major stories, exclusive coverage and expert opinion. Sign up to get it every weekday morning.

Most Viewed in Business

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article