Woolworths has cut trading hours back to 11am to 6pm at 41 stores across to scale up grocery deliveries for vulnerable consumers amid chaos in stores as a result of COVID-19 panic buying.
From Thursday, staff at these Priority Delivery Hubs will pick online orders for Priority Assistance, during those hours when the stores are not open to the public.
Woolworths introduced Priority Assistance home deliveries last week to deliver groceries to the elderly, people with disability and those in mandatory isolation.
“Following an extraordinary level of demand for groceries in recent weeks, reducing trading hours in a small number of our stores to turn them into ‘Priority Delivery Hubs’ will help us assist more people who can’t access a store to get products they need,” Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said.
Supermarket giant Coles is also in the early stages of rolling out an Online Priority Service (COPS) to service elderly and vulnerable customers who are struggling to access groceries.
After unprecedented online orders, Coles and Woolworths halted Click&Collect and Home Delivery to prioritise those most in need.
Both retailers recently added dedicated early morning shopping hours for the elderly and those with a disability and through a Meals on Wheels partnership, Woolworths has delivered more than 75,000 packs of toilet rolls to the elderly community.
Following on from social distancing measures implemented earlier this week, Woolworths is now closing some registers in the self serve and express check outs to provide additional space between customers in those areas. The supermarket has also introduced store greeters to wipe down baskets, trolleys and direct customers to the notice board for information on social distancing.
The retailer is also supporting leading hunger relief charities OzHarvest, Foodbank and Fareshare to help “close the gap” on any food supply, employment, logistics or financial aid challenges they are facing in the current climate.
“At a time when hunger relief charities are seeing a surge in demand for providing meals and basic essentials, we’re also pleased to increase our commitment to our partners OzHarvest, Foodbank and FareShare,” Banducci said.
“We hope our additional long term support will help them with any gaps they are facing as they continue to help those most in need in the community.”
Inside FMCG is not affiliated with Coles or Woolworths.
For Coles Online Priority Service, please use this link:
For Woolworths Priority Assistance please use this link: