As we enter our third week of national lockdown, our lives are slowly adjusting to circumstances that were unthinkable just a month or two ago. There’s no doubt that this is a very difficult time for everyone.
As I’ve done in recent weeks, I wanted to write and update you on the measures we’ve taken in the last 7 days – measures that build on the many changes we’ve made since the outbreak of COVID-19. As our stores and our service start to return to normal, I also wanted to share some information on what we’re doing to support others who may benefit from our help.
You can find a full update on all these measures at tescoplc.com.
Food for all
Last Thursday, we were given an initial list of 110,000 clinically vulnerable and isolated people by the Government. From this list, we were able to match 75,000 existing customers – and we’ve already let them know we’re making home delivery slots available to them immediately. We’ll continue to work through this list, and, as we receive more data from the Government, we’ll make even more slots available.
We’ve increased our online delivery slots by 145,000 (+20%) in the last 2 weeks, with thousands more becoming available every day. We know it’s still difficult to get an online delivery slot due to high demand, so we ask those who are able to safely come to stores to do so. This will help free up more slots for the more vulnerable – so please think before you click.
As our stock levels start to return to normal, we’re removing the purchasing limits on the majority of products in our stores. We’ve kept limits on some essential lines such as toilet roll, pasta and hand sanitisers until our shelves are fully stocked again. But we’d still ask you to buy only what you need.
Many care homes have contacted us, asking to buy provisions for their guests. Booker, our wholesale business, is doing its very best to help these customers.
Safety for everyone
As well as the measures we shared with you previously, we’re introducing one-way aisles and a ‘one-in, one-out’ system in stores. We’ve maintained longer opening hours to minimise potential queuing. Do ask your local store team for the quiet times!
We have also now installed protective screens at the front and the back of every till at the checkout, so that we can open all of them and reduce the time you need to queue.
We understand customers are shopping less frequently and therefore need to spend a little more each time. The limit on contactless payments – which is quicker and safer for everyone – will start moving from £30 to £45 per shop. We ask for your patience while we gradually update our tills. You can also use the free Tesco Pay+ app from Tesco Bank. The app has bank-level security built in and lets you pay for up to £250 worth of shopping with a single contactless scan directly from your phone.
Supporting our colleagues
We’ve already confirmed that we’ll pay our vulnerable, pregnant and self-isolating colleagues from day one. We also introduced a 10% bonus for colleagues in stores, distribution centres and our call centre. From today, all our colleagues will get a 15% discount on all their Tesco shopping for the next four weeks as a further token of our appreciation.
We’ve also recruited 45,000 temporary colleagues to support our stores and distribution centres, given the number of colleagues who can’t work due to COVID-19.
Supporting our communities
Yesterday we confirmed that we’re the retail partner of SalutetheNHS.org which will provide one million free meal parcels to frontline NHS workers. We’ll donate all the food and ingredients used in the production of these food parcels. Also yesterday, we began work on our first dedicated NHS Nightingale Hospital pop-up store, at the NEC in Birmingham. We’ll provide NHS staff with on-site 24-hour access to the food and household products they need. Construction at the NEC started on Sunday and we aim to be open by the end of next week – so it’s all hands on deck. We’re in late-stage discussions with other Nightingale sites, and hope that this is the first of several pop-up Tesco stores that will help the NHS staff in those hospitals.
We sincerely hope these measures, taken alongside everything else we’ve done in the last few weeks, mean we’re able to give our colleagues and customers access to the essentials they need, in a safe environment. We also hope that, by using our skills and resources, we can make a real difference to supporting communities, and particularly those in need or on the front line.
I wanted to end this week’s update with a word of thanks. Firstly, thank you for your support and understanding as we have rolled out the measures outlined above; we can’t make these changes work without your help. Secondly, a word of thanks on behalf of my colleagues. I have heard countless stories of customers offering appreciation to our store colleagues who have been working in difficult conditions over the last few weeks. This means a lot to us.
I join you in thanking all our colleagues, and everyone else – NHS workers, other food retailers, suppliers and other frontline workers: thank you all for your service.
Together, we can do this.
Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO