Gaps on Highlands and Tablelands supermarket shelves, noted by customers across NSW over the last week or so, should be filling from today onwards, according to Woolworths, Aldi and Coles representatives.
The leading supermarkets blamed the stock issues on distribution staff being forced into self-isolation following exposure to COVID-19, rather than shoppers raiding shelves for essentials.
"In playing our part to help protect the community, a number of our team members are currently in self isolation to reduce the spread of COVID-19," said a Coles spokesperson.
"As a result, we are experiencing reduced product availability in stores and online.
"We want to assure our customers that we have sufficient stock available in our network, and we are working hard to get these products out to stores as quickly and safely as possible.
"We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause and ask for our customers for their patience as we work around the clock to restock our shelves."
The spokesperson added that many team members had now returned to work and they expected the products to now be available.
Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci updated customers last week with the same information, but a spokesperson said they were also expecting gaps to close today.
"Due to COVID impacts on our NSW supply chain, we experienced some disruptions to our scheduled store deliveries across NSW earlier in the week," said the Woolworths spokesperson.
"Our teams have worked hard to catch-up and replenish the shelves as quickly as possible for our customers.
"Our stock levels have improved in recent days, and we thank our customers for their patience during this time."
The spokesperson added that Woolworths had attempted to be as upfront as possible about the challenges they were facing in the supply chain, running full-page ads in newspapers last week with a message from Mr Banducci, which was also emailed to customers.
Coles also sent out an email to all NSW customers last week to thank them for their patience, and let them know they may see a few gaps on the shelf.
An Aldi representative echoed the words of Coles and Woolworths.
"Some employees across the Aldi network, both in store and in distribution centres, have been required to self-isolate due to being in close or casual contact to positive COVID-19 cases," she said.
"This requirement to isolate puts additional pressure on our internal supply chain, and on some occasions makes it a challenge to operate at full capacity.
"We will continue to do our best to keep shelves stocked and minimise disruption to our customers."