October 1, 2020

Coronavirus: Tesco tells people to visit stores to get food

Tesco has said that most food will still need to be purchased in-store amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The supermarket giant said it wasn’t able to meet demand as more shoppers stay at home, despite the fact it has increased its online grocery shopping capacity by more than 20%.

It said in the first weeks of the virus, there was “significant panic buying”, with sales up almost a third.

Tesco said that had now subsided with food stocks “returning to normal”.

“Between 85% and 90% of all food bought will require a visit to a store and here significant changes to the store environment have been implemented to maximise safety for colleagues and customers,” chief executive Dave Lewis said.

Mr Lewis said that during its peak week of stockpiling, Tesco sold:

3.1 million containers of liquid soap, an increase of 363%
6 million tins of beans, more than double the usual amount
3.3 million tins of tomatoes, up 115% compared to a typical week
3.6 million packets of toilet roll, an increase of 76%
In contrast, he said sales of clothing and fuel both fell by 70%.

The chain said it would continue trying to “prioritise home delivery for the most vulnerable in society”.

Mr Lewis said that Tesco normally operates 660,000 home delivery slots but it is now running around 805,000.

He said that last Friday night, the government gave Tesco a list of 110,000 names of people it classed as vulnerable. The supermarket has contacted these people and offered them slots.

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