3 April 2020

A little better every day.

Dear Customers,

It’s only 6 weeks since we saw the first wave of surge buying in our stores, following the reports from Northern Italy. So, I now wanted to give you an update on some of the questions I’m hearing most from you, and even from my own family.

When will you be back to normal on toilet paper, pasta, wipes and other products?
Amazing as it might seem, we are still seeing almost double our normal demand for toilet paper. Just this week, that was over 20.5 million rolls. So despite much more stock coming in, we’re still not where we need to be. It is slowly improving, but please help everyone by only buying what you need.

With pasta, we have an extra 1,000 pallets a week coming in, which is more than half a million extra packs. It will still be patchy for a while, but we are expecting much more stock on shelves next week.

We’re doing our best to keep up with the extraordinary demand for cleaning wipes, including securing extra supply from alternative sources in the short term, much of which will start to arrive in stores in the coming weeks.

And an interesting fact. Two of our highest growth categories this week have been cake mixes and household cleaning products. A lot more kids are baking and parents cleaning as we all spend more time at home.

How are you making shopping as safe as possible, and why aren't all of your team wearing gloves and masks?
We’ve put many new measures in place to help make our stores a safer place to shop, many as a direct result of feedback from store teams and customers. These include:

  • store greeter wiping down basket and trolley handles as you enter
  • Asking customers to keep 1.5m between each other in store
  • New Plexiglass screens across our staffed checkouts
  • Packing your own bags at the checkout
  • Our checkout team now rotate every 2 hours to limit face-to-face interaction
  • A significant increase in cleaning of ‘high touch’ surfaces and daily deep cleaning
  • And coming next week, more focus on managing the number of customers in our stores

The current guidance from the Department of Health is that it’s not necessary for our teams to wear masks and gloves in store. However, we know that many of our team feel more comfortable wearing gloves, so we are providing them as an option if they choose.

When will online Delivery and Pick up come back?
And when will you clear the long wait for Priority Assistance?

We are making good progress reactivating home delivery, area by area. We’re hoping to have all areas operational immediately after Easter.

The number of Priority Delivery Hubs will go from 50 to over 200 by the end of this weekend. Some of these stores have reduced opening hours to allow us to provide thousands of extra delivery windows a week.

From Monday, Priority Assistance Partner Pick Up will start to be available, allowing customers to place an order online for someone to pick up on their behalf. That will be in more than 100 stores for drive-thru and 600 stores at the service desk.

We’ve delivered thousands of the Woolworths Basics Box to help the growing number of people in self isolation. They are already in NSW, ACT, VIC, SA and TAS with more states rolling out shortly.

Our customer care team has now doubled in size and we are answering 60% more calls than we were last week. And whilst the average phone wait time for Priority Assistance home delivery is still too long at 27 minutes, it is coming down rapidly with more people on our team to support you.

Most importantly, is Easter still coming this year?

That’s the easy one, yes it is. Easter at home will be different this year, but you should still be able to get your Easter favourites at Woolworths.

In summary, we are making progress. In partnership with our customers, the broader industry and State, Territory and Federal Governments, we are getting a little better every day.

Stay Safe

CEO, Woolworths Group