Australian supermarket chain Woolworths is planning to enhance its store network and distribution centre in Townsville, Queensland, during the next 18 months with a $20m investment.

The company has made this decision as part of its flood recovery efforts in the city.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci has joined Queensland Minister for Communities Coralee O’Rourke and its emergency relief partner The Salvation Army to announce the investment.

Banducci said: “Our teams have worked round the clock to replenish our stores with fresh food and essentials in challenging circumstances, and I thank them for their resilience and dedication to serving the community.

“We have a long and proud history in Townsville, and this announcement demonstrates our ongoing commitment to invest in the city for the benefit of our customers and team members.

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“This investment will not only deliver a better local store network, it’ll also help build greater resilience into our supply chain for extreme weather events in the future.”

“This investment will not only deliver a better local store network, it’ll also help build greater resilience into our supply chain for extreme weather events in the future.”

Using the investment, the retailer initially plans to reopen the flood-affected Woolworths Fairfield location for local customers and team members.

It will also use the investment to update the cold storage facilities at its Townsville Distribution Centre in an effort to increase its capacity to hold more produce.

In October, the company, in partnership with Heritage Bank, launched a $30m Woolworths Organic Growth Fund to assist farmers to meet customer demand for organic fruit and vegetables. The fund was launched to offer interest-free loans to Australian organic fruit and vegetable growers.