Coles has “temporarily suspended” home delivery and click-and-collect for the majority of its customers in a bid to free up resources for those who are vulnerable or live in isolated locations.
The supermarket giant took the decision on Monday to extend the cancellation of its Uber Eats delivery service after a difficult 48 hours fulfilling online orders due to panic buying.
It follows a similar decision by Woolworths over the weekend to stop taking online orders for same day delivery and pick-up in response to the current coronavirus pandemic.
“All home delivery and click-and-collect [orders] placed for Wednesday 18 March and onwards, except for remote delivery, will be cancelled, and customers are being notified via email,” Coles said in a customer notice.
Coles said the decision would allow it “to dedicate vans in our network to delivering groceries to those in genuine need, especially the most vulnerable and those isolated”.
“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause and a further announcement about this will be made in the coming days,” it said in a statement.
“The steps we are taking will help safeguard the wellbeing of our customers and team members while ensuring we can continue to provide groceries for the Australian community, as more customers prepare for the possibility of staying at home.”
Coles said the decision to temporarily stop taking click-and-collect orders was “due to lower product availability in stores”.
It said this would “avoid inconvenience for Coles Online customers who have been picking up incomplete” orders.
Both home delivery and click-and-collect orders are fulfilled from shelf stock at the closest supermarket on the day of the request.
Customers took to social media on Sunday to complaint they had been unable to complete online orders for several hours, or that they had lost existing delivery slots after checking on or modifying an existing order.