Woolworths has made a significant decision on trading hours as shopping habits reveal a dramatic easing in panic buying.
Woolworths has made a significant decision on trading hours as shopping habits reveal a dramatic easing in panic buying.

The items flying off supermarket giant's shelves

Australians have grown more experimental in the kitchen according to products soaring in demand at Woolworths as the supermarket giant prepares to return to normal trading hours from Monday.

Ingredients such as cardamom, saffron and dried sesame seeds have doubled in sales, while roasted peppers are up 65 per cent, Asian and hot chilli sauces rose 40 per cent and capers jumped 35 per cent.

Meanwhile, the scourge of toilet paper stockpiling appears to be history as the sale of the household essential dropped by a whopping four million rolls last week and is now below the sales volume for the same time last year.

"I am very pleased to report that sales of most products are back to pre-COVID-19 levels," Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said in an email to customers this morning.

"This easing of demand means we've been able to lift the product limits on essentials like rice, pasta sauce, noodles, cleaning products, sugar and eggs. Just six categories still have limits in place (down from 45 at the height of the surge) and we're hoping we can lift more next week."

The supermarket giant will continue with a number of social distancing measures, however, including one-way aisles in some smaller stores, hand sanitiser stations and masks available for team members.

"Over the last few months, we've made some material changes and investments for the health and safety of our customers and teams," Mr Banducci said.

"At the moment, we don't foresee the need for any significant new social distancing or hygiene initiatives, but we do continue to finetune and adapt what we already have."

The move comes as Myer reopens five of its Queensland stores from today and two Sydney stores tomorrow.

Chermside, Carindale, North Lakes, Townsville and Toowoomba sites will reopen on a trial basis from Friday as the Sunshine State eases social distancing restrictions, while Sydney's Bankstown and Liverpool stores will be back for Saturday's shop.

Shopping is returning to normal at Myer. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP
Shopping is returning to normal at Myer. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP

Myer has said the reopening of the stores is part of the chain's staged plan to get the business rolling again, taking in changes each state is making with regards to the rules to stop the spread of the deadly pandemic.

"Our priority continues to be the health and wellbeing of our customers and team members and to assist and support governments in limiting the spread of COVID-19," a company spokesperson said in a statement.

"In line with the easing of restrictions in Queensland, we look forward to trialling the opening of five Queensland stores, providing our customers with great brands at great value, in a safe shopping environment."

SPENDING JUMPED BEFORE LOCKDOWN

Retail spending across Australia jumped 8.5 per cent in March as consumers stockpiled food and office supplies in anticipation of coronavirus lockdown measures.

Seasonally adjusted retail spending rose to $30.11 billion and followed a rise of 0.6 per cent in February, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Wednesday.

The result helped retail sales volumes lift 0.7 per cent for the March quarter to a total of $80.72 billion.

The monthly number bettered an optimistic market expectation, with analysts forecasting an 8 per cent rise in March.

The result was driven by unprecedented demand in food retailing, with spending on groceries, liquor and specialised food up between 23 per cent and 30 per cent.

@James_P_Hall

Originally published as Woolies items flying off shelves



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