TESCO has warned it only has enough online delivery slots for 10 per cent of shoppers – but the supermarket will continue to prioritise vulnerable customers.
The grocer says it has added 145,000 delivery slots, an increase of more than 20 per cent, in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
But despite upping its output, Tesco says “there is simply not enough capacity to supply the whole market”.
Between 85 and 90 per cent of all food bought by customers will need to be purchased in stores, the supermarket said.
In its preliminary financial results today, the supermarket added: “We will continue to try and prioritise home delivery for the most vulnerable in society as defined by the UK government.”
It comes after Tesco said it was giving 75,000 vulnerable customers priority access to its online delivery slots.
Supermarket home deliveries during coronavirus lockdown
Tesco do home deliveries with a £25 minimum spend and an 80-item limit. Slots are released every midnight.
Asda do deliveries with a £40 minimum spend and Click & Collect with a £25 minimum spend.
Iceland home deliveries have a £35 minimum spend, but are limited to elderly and vulnerable customers.
Morrisons has a £40 minimum spend on home deliveries and also provide £30 food boxes of essential items with a £5 delivery charge.
Waitrose home deliveries have a £60 minimum spend. A minimum of 25 per cent of products are reserved for elderly and vulnerable customers.
Sainsbury's have a £40 minimum spend on home deliveries. New registrations are currently closed.
These customers have been identified as Tesco shoppers after the grocer was given a list of 110,000 people by the government.
These people, which include elderly customers and those who are socially isolated, had all asked the government for help getting food supplies.
In its financial results, Tesco said sales increased by 30 per cent in the first few weeks of the coronavirus crisis following unprecedented demand for stock.
Panic buying has now "stabilised" across stores, Tesco said.
The company has also employed more than 45,000 more staff members to cope with demand, as well as buying nearly 200 new vans to deliver food.
But Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis, also predicted the extra cost of additional staff, distribution and store expenses could cost the company up to £950million.
He said: "COVID-19 has shown how critical the food supply chain is to the UK and I’m very proud of the way Tesco, as indeed the whole UK food industry, has stepped forward.
"In this time of crisis we have focused on four things; food for all, safety for everyone, supporting our colleagues and supporting our communities.
"There are significant extra costs in feeding the nation at the moment but these are partially offset by the UK business rates relief."
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The supermarket recorded a pre-tax profit of £1.3billion on sales of £56.5billion in the year to 29 February.
Over the weekend, the supermarket announced it was relaxing its three item limit on the vast majority of products.
Tesco says the three item limit will now only apply to fresh eggs, home baking products, and household and personal cleaning products including hand sanitisers.
It will also continue to apply to packets and tins of food, including pasta and rice, as well as to toilet rolls and paper goods.
These changes apply both online and in-store, although the supermarket's 80-item total order cap is still in place for online orders.
Tesco stores will also now be opening later to allow time for pickers to put together deliveries.
Instead of opening at 6am or 7am, stores with online grocery arms will now open from 8am.
Shops will also continue to close by 10pm at the latest – something Tesco introduced at its 24-hour stores a few weeks ago to give staff more time to stock shelves and clean.
In addition, the supermarket has dedicated the first hour of trade for NHS staff every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday in all stores, apart from its Express branch.
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