It seems the retail revolution is still a little way off, after supermarket giants Sainsbury's and Tesco ditched a scheme introduced by Transport for London (TfL) to let shoppers collect their groceries at Tube stations.
The scheme, introduced amid much pomp and ceremony back in 2013 and then expanded in 2014, allows customers to order groceries online, then pick them up at Click & Collect "hubs" at 10 stations including Osterley, Newbury Park, Rayners Lane, Finchley Central, Arnos Grove and Cockfosters.
TfL is currently on a quest to find ways to fill wasted space across its network, which it estimates could raise £3bn for it. That includes installing Click & Collect lockers for online retailers such as Amazon, introducing pop-ups in disused retail units and even calling for businesses to pitch for space in disused tube stations.
But the Evening Standard reported that the two supermarkets had pulled out of the partnership with TfL. Sources suggested local residents were driving to the car parks to pick up their shopping, rather than commuters using the hubs.
Today a spokesperson for Tesco - which is also trying to find ways to cut costs in the face of intense competition from discounters - told City A.M. it had joined the scheme because it was "always looking for new ways to make food shopping easier".
"However, our London customers have told us they prefer the Click & Collect service at our stores and online grocery shopping. We will continue to offer our Click & Collect grocery service in almost 400 locations across the UK."
A Sainsbury's spokesperson added: "We set up a few trial collection points with Tfl last year to see how customers used the service. Although it was popular in some areas, it wasn’t used in others as much as we’d like, so we’re now focussed on rolling out a grocery Click & Collect service in our stores across the country – with over 20 sites in operation and 100 due by the end of the year.”
Stuart Anderson, head of retail at TfL, said: “The Click and Collect trials have and continue to be a real success for us and the majority of our retail partners. Tesco and Sainsbury’s have decided not to extend beyond their trial, but we continue to work closely with them to identify other suitable retail opportunities on our network.”