Tesco adds another 120,000 delivery slots to cope with coronavirus demand

Tesco has announced it is expanding its home delivery and Click & Collect services following a huge surge in demand amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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

Tesco said more than 200 new vans have been brought in, while another 2,500 drivers and over 5,000 pickers have been added to the delivery expansion.

It comes after shoppers reported difficulties in securing online delivery slots across most supermarkets, following the rise in demand, with many opting for home delivery during the lockdown to stick to social distancing and isolation rules.

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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’.

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.’

The move comes after several other major supermarkets announced new measures amid the crisis.

Aldi has said it is relaxing shopping restrictions for a range of products across its UK stores, after it introduced a blanket limit of four of every product in response to shoppers panic-buying and stripping the shelves empty.

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

However, it said it will continue to limit customers to only two of its most popular items, including antibacterial hand gel, UHT milk and baby formula. Items such as nappies, bleach, toilet roll, pasta, tinned tomatoes, beer and hand wash will be limited to four items per person.

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 today, new figures revealed March was the busiest month on record for supermarkets across Britain, with grocery sales rising by more than 20% in the last four weeks.

It came as Sainsbury’s agreed a deal with WHSmith to bring over 90 new product lines to the British retailer’s hospital stores, including essentials such as toilet roll, pasta and UHT milk.

Online grocer Ocado has announced it is hiring an extra 3,000 people to work in its logistics division to cope with the surge in demand, while partner Waitrose has been praised for banning couples from shopping together.

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