Hand sanitiser is low in stock at Coles due to the coronavirus outbreak, and the company says it expects shortages in other products too

Hand sanitiser is running low at Coles. Image: Getty
  • The coronavirus outbreak is seeing shortages in Australian supermarkets for certain goods.
  • Coles told Business Insider Australia its logistics has been impacted amid the outbreak and Chinese New Year.
  • Coles has also been running low on hand sanitiser and handwash and, forecasts shortages in clothing, stationery and electrical goods.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Supermarket chain Coles is running low on hand sanitiser and hand washes as the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold, according to a spokesperson.

“Logistics remain challenging, especially through some major ports and, like most retailers, we have been impacted by the extension of Chinese New Year, which saw factories closed for longer than planned and delays in production due to staff requiring government permits to return to work,” the spokesperson said.

Coles said that handwash and hand sanitiser in particular is running low at the moment, with shortages also expected for other non-food related products.

“Products such as antibacterial handwashes and hand sanitiser products are already low in stock and there are shortages forecast for non-food items like stationery, clothing, [and] electrical goods,” the spokesperson said. “Coles has also experienced delays in refrigeration equipment being shipped out of China for our store renewals.”

Coles highlighted that it’s taking “necessary precautions” in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We take the wellbeing of our customers and team members seriously and are following necessary precautions, as advised by the Australian government,” the spokesperson said.

“We are working with our suppliers and transport partners to manage our response to the coronavirus and minimise the impact on product availability for customers.”

Coles is also keeping an eye on suppliers that use raw packaging or materials from China.

“We are keeping in close contact with affected suppliers, not just those in China but also local suppliers who source raw materials or packaging from China,” the spokesperson added.

“We are confident that the measures we have in place are adequately addressing known risks, and we will continue to take advice from the Department of Health on this matter.”

While rival chain Woolworths has also been seeing high demand for hand sanitiser, a spokesperson told Business Insider Australia by email its supply chain hasn’t been affected.

“We are actively monitoring the unfolding situation in Asia,” the spokesperson said. “At this stage, we haven’t seen any disruptions to supply or procurement across the group.”