Floods may cause temporary banana shortage
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The floods in Queensland and northern NSW may cause a temporary shortage of bananas, but those fearing the sky high prices of 2011 can rest assured that this time it will be shortlived.
Woolworths chief executive Grant O'Brien says that while the full impact of the floods is yet to be determined there would be some short-term shortages.
"We're still waiting to hear from farmers what the full and long term effects will be but suffice to say there will be some shortages in the short term," he told reporters after announcing Woolworths' first half 2012/13 sales results on Thursday.
Banana prices soared to about $14 a kilo after Cyclone Yasi destroyed most of far north Queensland's crops in February 2011.
Mr O'Brien said while shoppers would not experience soaring prices on popular produce such as bananas like they did in 2011, there would be shortages due to delays in deliveries.
"With the water going into the Lockyer Valley and into Bundaberg they're affecting growing areas for us," he said.
"But last time the entire banana crop was wiped out and that was such a significant event because bananas are the biggest single selling item in our stores.
"That won't be the case this time. There will be a short-term shortage of bananas but that's mainly got to do with farmers being able to get them to market."
He said two of Woolworths' supermarkets, a petrol station a Dan Murphy's liquor outlet, four BWS stores and one of its hotel remained closed in Queensland due to the floods.
"But it's nothing near the level we had in 2011 and we'll recover from that quite quickly with the possible exception of those two supermarket which have got a bit of damage to them," he said.
Mr O'Brien said the loss of power in some stores was also still affecting their levels of stock.