Belfast Telegraph

Tesco supermarkets will end 24-hour operations at low sale stores

By Valerie Edwards

Tesco will end 24-hour opening at some of its supermarkets.

Two Tesco Extra stores are understood to be the first to end overnight operations in London, and other 24-hour branches will follow suit.

Select stores will close at midnight and reopen at 6am. The move is a response to overnight customer numbers being so low in some branches that stores aren't profiting enough to cover the cost of staying open at night.

Tesco stores have been hit by the growth in online shopping and the rise of discount supermarkets in the past few years.

CEO, Dave Lewis, plans to cut costs and get Tesco back on track after profit-warnings last year. The decision to close stores early is a part of a larger cost-cutting plan that closed 43 stores last year and halted 49 planned developments, according to This is Money.

Tesco began 24-hour trading in 1996, saying it wanted to help customers shop whenever they wanted and currently has 400 Extras and superstores offering 24-hour service.

A Tesco spokesman told The Mirror: "We're always thinking about how best to serve customers in each of our stores.

"Where there is a case to look at the opening hours of a store, we will do so, but any decisions will be made locally and our colleagues will be the first to know."

In Ireland, Tesco has 149 outlets, and employs over 15,000 people.

The company stressed there would be "limited" impact on jobs, with night operations such as preparation for online deliveries and shelf stacking continuing as normal.

Cutting opening hours in the UK follows a similar move by Tesco in Ireland last year. The supermarket chain operated a number of 24-hour stores in Ireland, but ended the round-the-clock shopping at all stores in 2014.

Earlier this year Tesco shut down three stores in Northern Ireland - including two in Belfast. Stores at Connswater and Cregagh Road in east Belfast shut down in April. The store at Church Street in Ballymena closed in May.

Tesco's highest profit margin comes from Ireland and remains the number one market in Ireland beating SuperValu and Dunnes, according to Kantar Worldpanel. More than 20,000 new customers are flocking to Tesco, which is vital to its financial recovery.

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