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Harvey Norman, Bunnings & CE Retailers To Stay Open

Consumer electronics, appliance and hardware retailers will be allowed to stay open with demand for goods likely to increase online as people are forced to stay at home claim analysts.

Among the retailers staying open are David Jones, Myer, The Good Guys, Big W, JB Hi Fi, Harvey Norman, Bing Lee and Winnings.

As of Friday, there was a shortage of freezers, PC monitors, notebooks and accessories with distributors confident that they can get supplies into Australia as the situation in China eases.

Retailers close to supermarkets and pharmacies are set to benefit from the traffic that these “essential” retailers are set to generate.

Indoor venues such as pubs, clubs and places of worship, as well as dine-in food at restaurants and cafes, have until midday today to close down as the Federal Government’s crackdown on large gatherings comes into effect amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Australian the nation’s largest supermarket wholesaler, Metcash, has urged its suppliers to maintain their normal level of discounting and promotions in the wake of unprecedented sales volumes at stores triggered by the COVID-19.

Metcash supplies about 1400 independent supermarkets as well as thousands of food shops, convenience stores and other outlets.
Metcash merchandise director Grant Ramage argues that discounts and promotions are crucial in the current environment and need to be continued, even though Metcash might be issuing fewer or no

“While our logistics function is under significant pressure, our ¬operations teams are doing a phenomenal job to cope with record and unprecedented demand,’’ Mr Ramage continues. “We are operating significantly expanded hours at all sites. Extra freight providers are being used to manage the increased volumes.’’

He says the spike in demand as some shoppers resorted to panic-buying would cause rationing.

“In selected categories where demand has spiked we are restricting product to retailers to ensure fair distribution of available stock for all stores. We are recommending to our retailers that they apply limits per shopper in line with the industry. We believe that this is the approach that is most likely to eventually lead to cessation of panic-buying.”
Mr Ramage’s letter says Metcash understands that suppliers’ businesses are also under enormous pressure at this time.

“What we appreciate: all our partners working together to produce and distribute stock and support the Australian community; your patience and understanding. None of us really knows the extent to which this will escalate or the length of time we will be operating in this manner.”

Metcash’s chief executive of supermarkets, Scott Marshall, told The Australian there was no need for shoppers to panic-buy, mirroring comments from the bosses of Woolworths, Coles and Aldi, saying the shortages on the shelf were purely a demand issue.

“My key message is the same — don’t panic. We do have plenty of supply and products to get out there,” he said. “The supply chain is working very well. We are dealing with Christmas volumes every day without planning for Christmas,’’ he said.

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