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Argos goes free with Fast Track to beat Black Friday bottlenecks


Argos is waiving the £3.95 delivery charge for its same-day Fast Track delivery service as it attempts to encourage shoppers to spend now, rather than wait for Black Friday.
Starting tomorrow and ending on 24 November, same-day Fast Track deliveries will be free

By making Fast Track free in the run to Black Friday, Argos clearly hopes to shake free any latent demand from shoppers, thereby avoiding bottlenecks and delays caused by a sudden influx of orders. Speaking at the eDelivery Conference (EDC) last month, the £3.95 charge was described by Andy Brown, Argos Stores central operations director, as being sufficient for the retailer to make money from.

The Fast Track service, which launched last month following a trial in southern England over the summer period, is the result of a hub-and-spoke reconfiguration of its stock handling and storage processes; stock is held in large hub stores and shuttled between there and a series of spokes – shoppers’ homes have now been factored into that model. Being able to make money from a low delivery charge is a factor of a pre-existing, comprehensive delivery network.

Fast Track is understood to have started appealing to what Brown described at EDC as “new customers” – people who were not regular Argos shoppers. Whether making Fast Track free will increase its appeal to existing Argos customers remains to be seen.

Last month, Argos saw operating and distribution costs increase by £14m during the first half of its FY16, coupled with falls in sales and profits for the period.

Main image: Olympic sprinter Iwan Thomas launches the Argos Fast Track delivery service, at North Weald Airport in Essex. Copyright David Parry/PA Wire

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