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Tesco expands home delivery service as shopper demand soars

The supermarket chain said it plans to increase its delivery and collection capacity by another 100,000 slots in the coming weeks.

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People queue outside a Tesco Extra store in Madeley, Shropshire (Nick Potts/PA)

People queue outside a Tesco Extra store in Madeley, Shropshire (Nick Potts/PA)

People queue outside a Tesco Extra store in Madeley, Shropshire (Nick Potts/PA)

Tesco has ramped up its home delivery and Click & Collect services after a surge in demand in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The supermarket giant said it has grown its delivery and collection capacity to around 780,000 slots this week, up from 660,000 slots two weeks ago, with plans to increase this by another 100,000 in the coming weeks.

It added more than 200 new vans and recruited another 2,500 drivers and over 5,000 pickers, as part of the delivery expansion.

It comes after shoppers reported difficulties in securing online delivery slots on the back of soaring demand.

Last week, Tesco said it was limiting shoppers to only 80 items per online order.

Dave Lewis, Tesco chief executive, said coronavirus has “led to unprecedented levels of demand for grocery shopping services”.

It is vital that customers who can come into stores and shop for themselves do so – so we can free up as many slots as possible for vulnerable peopleDave Lewis, Tesco

He added: “We’re doing everything we can to increase the number of slots available and to support vulnerable people.

“Through a series of measures including more drivers, pickers and vans, we’ll expand the number of slots available each week; but this still isn’t enough to meet the demand.

“For this reason it is vital that customers who can come into stores and shop for themselves do so – so we can free up as many slots as possible for vulnerable people.”

Elsewhere, Aldi has said it is relaxing shopping restrictions for a raft of products across its UK stores.

The discount supermarket introduced a blanket limit of four of every product after reports of panic-buying from customers in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

It said it will also continue limit customers to only two of its most popular items, which include antibacterial hand gel, UHT milk and baby formula.

Meanwhile, items such as nappies, bleach, toilet roll, pasta, tinned tomatoes, beer and hand wash will be limited to four items per person.

Products such as fresh fruit and vegetables and meat will no longer be rationed for shoppers.

The company said: “While we would still encourage people to buy only what they need, product availability in store is good and the move will make it easier for people to shop for vulnerable people and those who are self-isolating.”

Earlier on Tuesday, new figures revealed that March was the busiest month on record for supermarkets across Britain, with grocery sales rising by a staggering 20.6% in the last four weeks.

All 10 major UK supermarkets saw sales increase over the past 12 weeks according to the new data, with Aldi reporting an 11% jump in sales.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s was the best performer of the traditional big four supermarkets, reporting 7.4% growth.

It came as Sainsbury’s agreed a deal with WHSmith to bring over 90 new products lines to WHSmith hospital stores.

The UK’s second-largest supermarket said it would supply the hospital stores with essentials such as toilet roll, pasta and UHT milk.

Elsewhere, online grocer Ocado has announced it is hiring an extra 3,000 people to work in its logistics division after a surge in demand in the face of the pandemic.

PA