How the Christmas rush will change this year

 

Supermarkets have ramped-up their operations for Christmas with extra staff and increased delivery options for shoppers.

It comes as the vast majority of consumers plan to throw their support behind Australian-made products and local farmers, after a tough year.

Woolworths said it had employed an extra 15,000 team members in a variety of customer-service roles, had increased delivery windows, and partnered with companies Drive Yellow, Sherpa and Uber to fast track distribution.

It had also increased the number of windows to collect online orders in stores.

Woolworths said it had employed an extra 15,000 team members in a variety of customer-service roles to keep up with Christmas demand. Picture: AAP
Woolworths said it had employed an extra 15,000 team members in a variety of customer-service roles to keep up with Christmas demand. Picture: AAP


Rival Coles said it had also rolled out a range of measures to better handle Christmas demand.

Coles spokeswoman Martine Alpins said the supermarket was encouraging customers to plan their shop early this year, and take advantage of extended trading hours as well as "more than one million … click and collect slots".

"We have reduced the price of our delivery fees and doubled online capacity in the lead up to Christmas and we're extending the hours home delivery and click and collect is available both early in the morning and late in the evening," Ms Alpins said.

"We are employing thousands of additional team members over the Christmas period and will have more check outs open to avoid queues."

Merchandising Director at Metcash Food - the conglomerate behind IGA supermarkets - Grant Ramage said the company had employed more people in its distribution centres and would increase the number of trucks on the road to service stores.

Given IGA stores are independently owned, it would be at the discretion of shop bosses to tweak their operations for the Christmas period.

Mr Ramage said trading hours and delivery schedules would be among the things stores reviewed.

Meanwhile, Woolworths research this week showed a vast majority of consumers wanted to support Australian-made products and local farmers.

In a survey of more than 1000 respondents, 94 per cent of those polled said it was "just as or more important than ever" to support Australian farmers and producers, and 85 per cent would place important on whether a product was locally made.

Woolworths said the equivalent of 44 bus loads of turkey would fly out the door in the run-up to December 25, along with 1.7 million kilos of its popular half leg ham.

Australian shoppers have indicated they will preference Australian-made products for Christmas this year. Picture: iStock
Australian shoppers have indicated they will preference Australian-made products for Christmas this year. Picture: iStock


Cheese is also expected to be hit, and a 30 per cent uptick in demand means 500 tonnes of brie and camembert could pass through check-outs.

Seafood will also be a major part of festive spreads, with the supermarket bracing for more than 220 tonnes of prawns and almost one million oysters to be sold during the week of Christmas.

More than 5.2 million pavlova bases and nests are also expected to adorn tables.

"Customers have made it increasingly clear they care more about buying Australian made products this Christmas following the extraordinary circumstances of the last 12 months," Woolworths Director of Buying, Paul Harker said.

Despite concerns a lack of fruit and vegetable pickers may affect stock levels in the weeks to Christmas, the supermarkets told News Corp they were confident their robust supply chains meant shelves would remain filled.

Aldi did not explain how it would adjust it's operations for the coming weeks, but said it knew Australians were looking to "stretch their budgets further" and was "working hard" to ensure customer could get what they need.

Originally published as How the Christmas rush will change this year



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