Tesco 'drive-through' trial receives lukewarm reception

Tesco's launch of the UK's first drive-through supermarket has received a lukewarm response from analysts, with some raising questions over the feasibility of a wider roll-out.

Tesco: drive-through trial receives lukewarm response
Tesco: drive-through trial receives lukewarm response

The retailer unveiled the initiative, which allows customers to order groceries online then pick them up without having to leave their cars, this week.

The trial at the Tesco Extra store in Baldock, Hertfordshire, will be promoted with leaflets distributed in-store and via online deliveries locally.

Tesco hopes the initiative will boost its online shopping arm, which generated sales of about £2.1bn and profits of £136m in the last financial year.

The supermarket expects the service to be used by busy mothers, as well as young professionals who cannot commit to waiting at home for delivery.

Customers will order their shopping via Tesco.com, choose the 'click and collect' option and book a two-hour collection slot.

At a reserved area in the store car park, customers will show their shopping reference details to staff, who will then pack the shopping into the boot of the customer's car. A flat fee of £2 will be added to the bill.

Nick Bubb, retail analyst at Arden Partners, said he could see the appeal of the service to 'time-starved mums', but questioned whether it would have any great impact.

'I am not sure how many Tesco stores will be big enough to offer this,' he added, 'and I am not sure if rivals will follow suit as they will not have the store size to undertake it efficiently.'

Mintel analyst Richard Perks also raised doubts over the scalability of the initiative, suggesting it represented little more than a 'marketing venture'.

'Online sales at Tesco account for less than 5% of overall sales,' he said. 'This is about attracting marginal business.'

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