Basic grocery supplies take priority

Dunedin's Foodstuffs South Island distribution centre has been ramped up to deal with extra demand caused by the Christchurch earthquake

The company, which includes Pak'n Save, New World, and Four Square, has warned customers to expect shortages of some items, as it was focused on maintaining basic supplies.

Three of its Christchurch distribution centres were seriously damaged, one so badly it cannot be used until extensive repairs are carried out.

Foodstuffs South Island chief executive Steve Anderson said volumes at South Dunedin's Midland St distribution centre had increased to meet demand.

Extra staff had been drafted to help, from Christchurch and Dunedin, Mr Anderson said.

Maintaining basic supplies, such as bread, was the priority.

Luxury items, such as capers or preserved artichokes, might be unavailable in the coming weeks.

Modest but less sought-after items such as shoelaces would also not be a priority.

Rival supermarket chain Progressive Enterprises, which includes Countdown, said in a statement because of the earthquake, Auckland was supplying the South Island.

"We also ask customers to bear with us while we work to ensure all products are available."

Quality Bakers managing director Roger Gray, in Auckland, said bread supplies were back to normal after its Christchurch bakery was cleared for use on Sunday.

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