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Woolworths warns of price hikes and food shortages

The exterior of Woolworths store.
Woolworths customers may find it harder to purchase frozen foods. (Source: Getty)

Continued flooding around the country and the rising cost of living is expected to deal another blow to Aussie households, according to Woolworths.

Woolies CEO Brad Banducci said Aussies who had been saving some dosh by buying frozen instead of fresh may be hit the hardest.

“The big issue right now … is in frozen vegetables,” Banducci said.

“In particular, corn and potatoes, with the very poor growing season that we’ve had in Tasmania. So that is causing some challenges in the frozen category and some risk of under supply in some stores.”

Banducci said he didn’t want to overplay anything, but supply issues were the main concern for stores in the lead-up to Christmas, including some summer-time favourites like cherries.

Banducci said rising inflation had hit Aussies at the checkout with average prices increasing 7.3 per cent.

“We continue to see early signs of customer purchasing habits changing, but it remains unclear how much of this relates to cost-of-living pressures compared to COVID normalisation,” Banducci said.

However, despite flagging higher prices, Banducci said Woolworths was aiming to save shoppers some money in the lead-up to Christmas.

“On Tuesday, we announced our plans to deliver value this Christmas with a selection of seasonal favourites and entertaining essentials to be the same price or less than they were at Christmas last year,” he said.

“There are 51 days until Christmas and we are very focused on delivering a much-needed inspirational and affordable festive season for our customers.

“Ongoing supply chain volatility and the possibility of another wet summer will be key challenges to navigate but we are seeing strong early sell-through of seasonal lines and we remain cautiously optimistic for the period ahead.”

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