Woolworths Profits Slow As $ 150 Million In Virus Costs Hit

Mr Banducci said the first half was difficult. The biggest imposition in the management of COVID-19 had been on the group’s distribution centers. Each staff member at a distribution center had to undergo a rapid antigen test and then wait 15 to 20 minutes for the result. “It was a very material cost,” he said.

Mr Banducci said Woolworths has also implemented a system of split shifts at its distribution centers to avoid employee crossover as a preventive measure. This had introduced additional costs. The company had also recruited an additional 2,700 people to increase staff levels in its warehouses and distribution centers.

Providing personal protective equipment, having ‘ambassadors’ at the front of supermarkets helping customers register for COVID, and the general additional expenses required to operate in a safe environment for COVID had been a drag. by hand on profits.

About 18,000 Woolworths staff were forced into self-isolation at various times during the first half of the year after being seen as close contact with a COVID-19 case. He said there had been “far-reaching impacts” from the COVID-19 delta strain and that had impacted the end-to-end inventory flow and pace of the group’s operation. He expected the overall supply chain disruptions to correct themselves in three to six months.

Mr. Banducci said that the sales growth of his Australian Food division is positive on a one year basis and strong on a two year basis.

He said there was always “enormous pressure in the supply chain”, with shortages of pallets and general disruptions in shipping and transportation. But there would be no stockouts in supermarkets in key product lines that shoppers want as Christmas approaches.

Mr Banducci said the nationwide shortage of AdBlue diesel additives would not stop Woolworths truck deliveries in the near term, but it was something the company was watching closely for January.

“It’s going to be a New Years issue, I think,” he said.

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