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Tesco launches first UK drive-through supermarket

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Supermarket Tesco has launched a new drive-through service for online shoppers who don’t have time to wait at home for their groceries to be delivered. The service is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.

The service, currently being trialled at the store’s Baldock Extra shop in Hertfordshire, allows customers local to the store to order their shopping on the Tesco.com website and opt for the Click and Collect service.

Within their chosen two-hour collection period, up to 9pm, they drive to a reserved area of the supermarket car park in order to take delivery of their shopping from a Tesco.com delivery van.

Shoppers show their shopping reference details and the credit or debit card they used to make the order to staff who then load the bags into their boot – without the customer having to leave their car. Substitutions are flagged up just as on a home delivery. The service costs a flat £2 picking and packing fee.

Laura Wade-Gery, chief executive of Tesco dotcom and Tesco Direct, said: “This will be especially popular with busy mums who have the school run and children’s activities to manage. It also offers a solution to parents who want to avoid the challenge of shopping in a busy store with children in tow but can’t afford the time to stay in for the shop to arrive to their door.”

Young professionals, who can collect on their way home from work, are seen as another target market for the new service.

If the pilot is successful, Tesco will look at ways of adapting stores to make drive-through a permanent feature.

At the same time, Tesco said it had opened a dotcom store in Greenford offering earlier deliveries from 7am for its West London customers. It expects to make 11,000 deliveries a week, using vans powered by landfill gas. The store is its third, following previous Tesco dotcom openings in Croydon and Aylesford.

In 2009-10, Tesco dotcom generated total sales of about £2.1bn and £136m in profits.

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