Coronavirus: Tesco tells buyers to visit stores because there is not enough capacity for delivery

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Most buyers have to visit stores to buy food because “there just isn’t enough capacity” to deliver to most people, Tesco said.

The supermarket giant estimates that “between 85% and 90% of all food purchased will require a visit to a store”, despite government advice that the public should have their groceries delivered as much as possible.

While ordering the British to stay at home for at least three weeks, Boris Johnson said in last month’s televised speech: “You shouldn’t shop except for essentials like food and medicine – and you should do it as little as possible. And use the food delivery services where you can. ”

Tesco said it increased the capacity of its home grocery shopping service by 20 percent – an additional 145,000 locations – during the coronavirus outbreak, but “there simply isn’t enough capacity to supply the ‘whole market’.

The retailer added that it was trying to prioritize deliveries to the most vulnerable people and also implemented security measures in its stores, including social distancing rules and one-way aisles.

The boss of a rival supermarket company, Iceland has already urged healthy buyers should ignore Prime Minister’s advice and buy food in stores to free up delivery “for those who need it most.”

Sainsbury’s reserves all of its delivery slots for buyers who are elderly or have health concerns, while Asda has written to vulnerable customers to give them priority access to online shopping.

Many retailers have set purchasing limits in response to the widespread panic that has seen supermarket shelves empty and delivery slots reserved for weeks.

Tesco acknowledged that “major panic purchases have wiped out the supply chain of certain items” in the first weeks of the crisis, with sales surging 30%. But he added, “It has stabilized across the group and more normal sales volumes are happening. “

The supermarket chain said it had found a “significant shortage” of staff as Covid-19 spread to the United Kingdom and had recruited 45,000 additional employees in the past two weeks.

Dave Lewis, CEO of Tesco, said: “Covid-19 has shown how crucial the food supply chain is to the UK and I am very proud of the way Tesco, as indeed the whole of the British food industry, has taken a step forward.

“In this time of crisis, we focused on four things; food for all, security for all, support for our colleagues and support for our communities.

“The initial panic purchases have subsided and service levels are returning to normal. There are significant additional costs to feed the nation at the moment, but these are partially offset by lower tariffs for British companies.

The retailer’s statement was released alongside its preliminary results for 2019/20, which showed sales up 1.3% to £ 64.8 billion from last year, but a operating profit down 4.9% to £ 2.52 billion.

The company has told investors that it expects the coronavirus to cost its retail business between £ 650 million and £ 925 million next year due to increased wages, distribution and store expenses.

But he said it would be “largely offset” by increased food sales, lower 12-month activity rates and “careful management of operations.”

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