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Supermarkets Take Online Operations On War Footing

SYDNEY: Aussie supermarkets are getting ready to shift their online sales and deliveries operations up a gear in a coordinated war footing to help ensure essential supplies get through to the vulnerable and the isolated as the nation shuts down to limit the impact of Covid-19.

Following an unprecedented suspension of services and limited deliveries to cope with logistics issues that have left supermarkets stripped of stock, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has lifted its restrictions on collusion between supermarkets.

Pent up demand and limited resources has resulted in supermarkets’ online capabilities and delivery services being suspended across the broader supply chain, as they have been hit by successive waves of panic buying. Market analysts last week estimated that supermarket sales were up 25 percent year-on-year on the back of community coronavirus fears.

Since then, iTnews reports that Woolworths has launched what it calls a “Priority Assistance” that requires people to register and provide supporting documentation about their circumstances.

Woolworths says it will review and respond to requests within 48 hours, with eligible customers listed as “seniors, people with a disability and those with compromised immunity or who are required to self-isolate.”

Coles is also in the process of launching Coles Online Priority Service (COPS), but says it will not be ready until next week. The No. 2 chain says its COPS service “will be phased in to ensure we can meet the delivery needs of our customers most in need at this time.”

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