Covid-19: Asda increases delivery slots by 300,000 in two weeks

UK supermarket chain Asda has increased its weekly home shopping slots by 300,000 in the last fortnight, according to CEO Roger Burnley.

In his latest email to customers, Burnley said the grocer had been “working around the clock” to expand online delivery operations, and the recent addition of slots has taken Asda’s capacity to 700,000 a week.

However, he added that demand for delivery is still “very high and we recognise that not everyone will be able to get a slot”.

The UK supermarkets have been ramping up their eCommerce operations and home delivery functions in response to a huge spike in demand as the Covid-19 coronavirus took hold across the nation. Grocers are among the limited number of retail businesses allowed to stay open, with much of the UK in lockdown to stop the spread of the virus.

Sainsbury’s said it will have around 600,000 weekly slots available by the end of this week – an increase of circa 230,000 in 14 days – while Tesco is now offering 780,000, which is 120,000 more than a fortnight ago. That means between the three largest grocers in the UK alone there are now over two million weekly delivery and click & collect slots available for consumers – in addition to capacity increases by the rest of the sector.

“We want to ensure that the 700,000 deliveries we make every week are going to those who are most in need and who shouldn’t be leaving their house,” Burnley explained.

“That’s why I would ask that where possible, if you are able to go to one of our shops, to please do so. Whilst we are all being urged to stay at home as much as possible, the government guidelines do not restrict you from travelling to a supermarket to buy what you – or others - need.”

The government has identified over one million people in England who have conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 and who have been advised to self-isolate at home for 12 weeks to protect themselves.

That data has now been shared with the UK supermarkets, which are working together to ensure those who are most vulnerable receive the best access to home delivery slots.

Each supermarket is approaching this task in its own way, with Asda saying on Saturday that it will provide people on this list with a free Asda Priority Pass, which gives them access to new home delivery slots, the option to book a recurring delivery slot for peace of mind, and free delivery.

“We have begun reaching out to these customers to let them know what to do next,” Asda said.