Flood stock shortages: What’s missing from Coles and Woolworths?

Posted: 3 March 2022 1:00 pm
News
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Australia is facing a whole new set of challenges, meaning new stock shortages and product limits. What's missing from your local?

It's been a difficult year for Australia so far. The tumultuous floods that were affecting Northern Territory and South Australia have cleared up, but now the eastern states are experiencing severe flash flooding, wreaking havoc on supply chains. Users have taken to Twitter to show the state of their local supermarkets.

Certain Coles and Woolworths locations across NSW and Queensland are completely closed. You can find out whether this is the case for your local Woolies, as well as updated opening hours, here. A list of closed Coles stores can be found here, while updated opening hours can be found here.

Meanwhile, WA continues to deal with ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, affecting product availability at supermarkets.

As usual, stock shortages have led to product limits at the major supermarkets, both in-store and online. Here's a complete list of all product limits in place. Remember that depending on your area, stock shortages may go way beyond what's covered by official limits.

In addition to stock shortages, Woolworths is experiencing reusable plastic bag shortages, and is asking all customers to remember their personal reusable bags.

VIC, ACT, NT, TAS and SA

Most states and territories should not have any trouble finding their favourites at Coles or Woolworths. Woolworths has no product limits in place at all, and Coles has just a couple, apparently holdovers from supply chain issues caused by COVID-19.

Coles

  • Toilet paper: 1-pack limit
  • Pain relief products: 2-pack limit

NSW

The following product limits are in place in Coles for all of NSW. Like the limits for the states that aren't currently flood-affected, they mostly relate to COVID-19.

Coles

  • Toilet paper: 1-pack limit
  • Pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • Bulk or multi-pack still water: 1-pack limit

Additionally, due to certain areas of NSW being affected by extreme floods, select Coles locations have extra product limits. The list of these locations can be found here.

Coles

  • Paper towels: 2-pack limit
  • Facial tissues: 2-pack limit
  • Flour: 2-pack limit
  • Rice: 2-pack limit
  • Fresh milk: 2-pack limit
  • Long life milk: 4-pack limit
  • Mince: 2-pack limit
  • Sausages: 2-pack limit
  • Chicken breasts: 2-pack limit from meat department or 6-pack limit from deli department
  • Chicken thighs: 2-pack limit from meat department or 6-pack limit from deli department

Woolworths has introduced product limits for the following NSW locations (some stores remain closed): Ballina Fair, Ballina River Street, Byron Bay, Cabarita, Casino, Goonellabah, Kingscliff, Lennox Head, Lismore Central, Lismore Square, Mullumbimby, Tweed Heads, Tweed City. The product limits can be found below.

Woolworths

  • Bulk or multi-pack still water: 1-pack limit
  • Toilet paper: 1-pack limit
  • Pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • Paper towels: 2-pack limit
  • Facial tissues: 2-pack limit
  • Flour: 2-pack limit
  • Rice: 2-pack limit
  • Long-life milk: 2-pack limit
  • Fresh milk: 2-pack limit
  • Mince: 2-pack limit
  • Sausages: 2-pack limit
  • Chicken breasts: 2-pack limit
  • Chicken thighs: 2-pack limit

Queensland

The following product limits are in place for all of Queensland. While Coles has saved its strictest limits for select Queensland stores, all Woolworths product limits are now state-wide.

Coles

  • Toilet paper: 1-pack limit
  • Pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • Bulk or multi-pack still water: 1-pack limit

Woolworths

  • Bulk or multi-pack still water: 1-pack limit
  • Toilet paper: 1-pack limit
  • Pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • Paper towels: 2-pack limit
  • Facial tissues: 2-pack limit
  • Flour: 2-pack limit
  • Rice: 2-pack limit
  • Long-life milk: 2-pack limit
  • Fresh milk: 2-pack limit
  • Mince: 2-pack limit
  • Sausages: 2-pack limit
  • Chicken breasts: 2-pack limit
  • Chicken thighs: 2-pack limit

The list of Coles supermarkets which are subject to the following product limits can be found here.

Coles

  • Paper towels: 2-pack limit
  • Facial tissues: 2-pack limit
  • Flour: 2-pack limit
  • Rice: 2-pack limit
  • Fresh milk: 2-pack limit
  • Long life milk: 4-pack limit
  • Mince: 2-pack limit
  • Sausages: 2-pack limit
  • Chicken breasts: 2-pack limit from meat department or 6-pack limit from deli department
  • Chicken thighs: 2-pack limit from meat department or 6-pack limit from deli department

Western Australia

Western Australia is in a different situation, with COVID restrictions and a hard border affecting product availability out west. The lifting of Western Australia's border today may go some way towards alleviating their necessity, but for now, the following limits are in place.

Coles

  • Toilet paper: 1-pack limit
  • Pain relief products: 2-pack limit
  • Paper towels: 2-pack limit
  • Facial tissues: 2-pack limit
  • Flour: 2-pack limit
  • Rice: 2-pack limit
  • Sugar: 2-pack limit
  • Pasta: 2-pack limit
  • Eggs: 2-pack limit
  • Frozen vegetables: 2-pack limit
  • Frozen chips: 2-pack limit
  • Frozen fruits: 2-pack limit

Woolworths

  • Paper towels: 2-pack limit
  • Rice: 2-pack limit
  • Pasta: 2-pack limit
  • Sugar: 2-pack limit
  • Flour: 2-pack limit
  • Eggs: 2-pack limit
  • Frozen chips, including gems and wedges: 2-pack limit
  • Frozen fruit: 2-pack limit
  • Frozen vegetables: 2-pack limit
  • RATs: 10-test limit, applies to any combination of purchases within a 24-hour period

What to do if your supermarket is out of stock

If your local Coles or Woolworths are out of items you need, you have a number of options. Essential items such as toilet paper, pain medication, milk and flour are generally available at most service stations and convenience stores.

Such stores generally charge more, and have a smaller selection. Given the current situation, they may also be out of stock, or closed.

Alternatively, you should be able to order almost anything the major supermarkets sell by shopping online. You can check out a list of handy guides for popular products below. However, online delivery may be extremely difficult depending on your location.

Can't find what you're looking for? You can also try our Food and Groceries Finder.

Above all, remember to stay safe and follow your local advice.


Check out Finder's guide to the current floods in NSW and Queensland for advice on how to help out and stay safe.

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