Britain's largest retailer Tesco issues warning on deliveries during coronavirus lockdown

Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, has warned on Wednesday that home delivery slots will not be available for most people amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The store says sales rocketed almost a third as shoppers stockpiled. But up to 90% of food sales will require a store visit.

People self isolating, and especially the extremely vulnerable staying home for 12 weeks, are desperate for grocery deliveries.

The reality is that despite huge efforts to boost delivery capacity, supermarkets can’t provide enough to meet demand. And that’s the same story across the whole grocery sector.

Essential items were wiped from Tesco shelves in the weeks leading up to the coronavirus lockdown. Credit: PA

What Tesco did deliver on Wednesday was its annual results.

In the first weeks of this crisis sales rocketed 30% (with signs people in the south east did the most stockpiling).

There’s been 45,000 new recruits at Tesco In the last fortnight. But despite a 20% increase in delivery capacity, the store says between 85 and 90% of food sales will rely on store visits.

On one hand Tesco is getting £585m of business rates relief - but on the other it's handing £900m to shareholders.


Increase in Tesco's sales in the weeks leading up to the coronavirus lockdown.

The company says the tax break only covers about half of the up to £925 million of extra costs it now faces - with staff absences and store changes. It says the money for shareholders is based on the strength of performance over the last year.

Worth mentioning that other supermarkets too are reporting a boost to online capacity. On Wednesday, Morrisons announced a new partnership with Deilveroo, the online food delivery firm. Via their app or website, customers can order from a list of essentials to be sent to their homes.

Despite efforts like that not everyone will get supermarket slots so friends, family and neighbours are crucial. And thousands of local vulnerable groups are helping with shopping.

You can find details here on the Covid Mutual Aid website.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know