Covid-19: Waitrose rapid delivery slots to more than treble

UK grocer Waitrose has extended the capacity of its rapid delivery service, more than trebling the number of slots available each week.

The retailer said it can now provide more than 2.5 million households the option to use the service to get the food and essentials they need during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis.

In a statement released today (17 April), Waitrose said by the end of next week at least 40% of these new slots will be reserved exclusively for the elderly and vulnerable. The major grocers are able to identify people most in need after the government shared the relevant data with them a few weeks ago.

Waitrose said it will contact customers on the government's list of vulnerable people to inform them they have priority access to rapid slots – a service which enables shoppers to receive up to 25 grocery items within two hours or less or on the same day.

The Waitrose rapid service has been trialled from eight London shops, as well as in Hove, East Sussex. From today it will be available in the areas surrounding an additional 20 shops across London.

Waitrose Rapid will be available in the areas served by the following stores, from today:

  • Barbican
  • Belgravia
  • Brent Cross
  • Buckhurst Hill
  • Canary Wharf
  • Chiswick
  • Clapham Junction
  • Enfield
  • Finchley Road
  • Harrow Weald
  • High Holborn
  • Kings Cross
  • Mill Hill
  • Monument
  • Putney
  • Richmond
  • South Bank Tower
  • South Harrow
  • Stratford
  • Whetstone

By adding these new locations, Waitrose said it will increase the number of available rapid delivery slots from 2,000 to 7,000 each week.

The supermarket chain, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership, has also announced it will offer an additional 10,000 online grocery collection slots, taking the total number available each week to 30,000. It is doing this by introducing its online collection service in around 70 additional shops across the UK by the end of May.

Some 40 shops are expected to offer this by the end of April, and at least a quarter of the collection slots will be reserved for the elderly and vulnerable as is the case with its general service during this time of health emergency.

Ben Stimson, director, commented: “We are now making more online deliveries than Christmas week, every week, and have increased slots to reach 20% more customers than usual.

“We know there is demand for more slots and we are doing all we can to give as many people as possible the opportunity to get the essentials they need – especially those who need them the most.”

He added that Waitrose has recruited hundreds of drivers and increased the number of extra people-hours picking orders by nearly 50%. Research from Totaljobs and the British Chambers of Commerce, released today, found logistics and IT sector job availability spiked significantly in March, as businesses adapted to the crisis and sought the relevent skills base.