Panic buyers empty entire supermarket aisles

Entire aisles have been stripped bare at WA supermarkets as panicked shoppers scramble to stock up on essentials before the hard border falls, ushering in the new Omricon era.

Stocks of toilet paper, canned goods, pain relief medication, meats and rice were wiped out at supermarkets visited by the Sunday Times on Saturday.

Western Roads Federation chief executive Cam Dumesny said panic buying was putting extra strain on a system already struggling with interstate COVID absenteeism. At least seven goods trains – carrying the equivalent of almost 1000 trucks of food and other groceries – have been delayed coming into WA since Christmas.

The best thing shoppers could do to ease the pressure was to buy only what they needed, he said.

“We’ve just got to try as best as possible to suppress panicked demand. Just have patience and confidence in our industry. It’s a pretty resilient supply chain,” Mr Dumesny said.

Camera IconDespite limits on what customers could buy, pain relief was still out of stock at Woolworths, Balcatta. Credit: The West Australian/The West Australian

Australian Retailers Association industry affairs chief Fleur Brown said east coast suppliers the west relies on for goods have been forced to limit trading hours or close temporarily as the Omicron wave wreaks havoc on the workforce.

Woolworths director of stores Jeanette Fenske said that the supermarket giant was receiving new stock daily.

“Customers will notice some gaps on shelves but we’re doing all that we can to meet demand,” she said.

“We encourage everyone to be mindful of others in the community and to continue shopping in reasonable quantities.”

A Coles spokesperson WA shoppers had been spurred on by chaotic scenes in the Eastern States.

“We have placed temporary restrictions on some products to ensure fair access for our customers.

“We are fortunate to have fantastic WA meat produce, and grocery suppliers and we are working very closely with our suppliers and transport partners to increase deliveries and return a full range of products as quickly as possible.”

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