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Woolies Warns Of COVID Christmas Shortages

Woolworths has warned of potential stock shortages at Christmas due to COVID pressure on supply chains.

At talks convened by the Business Council of Australia (BCA) and including senior Victorian bureaucrats, Victorian jobs minister Martin Pakula, and state Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng, Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci sounded the alarm that shortages of essentials such as meat, seafood, and vegetables could see shoppers move around from store to store, potentially exacerbating the spread of the coronavirus.

In a statement reported in AFR, Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci said he valued the open dialogue the company has had with the Victorian government over the course of the pandemic.

“We’ve been working to support the government’s overarching health objective of reducing community movements to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“As part of this, we’ve shared data-driven insights on anticipated shopping behaviour in the lead-up to the busy Christmas season to help inform policy-making as it relates to our supply chains,” he said.

In a letter to the Victorian government, also reported in AFR, Phillippa Kelly, CEO of the Large Format Retail Association (LFRA) which represents stores such as Bunnings and Spotlight, called for an adjustment of restrictions to allow in-store trade to resume.

“The LFRA is of the strong opinion that the Large Format Retail sector is able to trade in a COVID-19 safe environment,” she said.

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