Monday 28 September 2020 4:33 pm

Coronavirus: Supermarkets ramp up online services amid second wave fears

Supermarkets are ramping up their online delivery services amid fears over a second wave of coronavirus, after demand outpaced capacity during the UK-wide lockdown this summer.

Demand for home deliveries has recently spiked again over concerns that the government will impose stricter lockdown rules as coronavirus cases have surged. 

Read more: Supermarkets reinstate rationing amid new Covid-19 restrictions

It was reported today that London could be subjected to a two-week lockdown, with a ban on households mixing.

Sainsbury’s announced this morning that it will grow its home delivery and click and collect capacity to 700,000 orders by the end of October, which is double the number of slots it had available in March. 

The grocer will also extend its delivery times to operate between 6.30am and 11.30pm in order to serve more customers.

Fresh food for freshers

Meanwhile, Morrisons unveiled a delivery service for university students that have been asked to self-isolate.

The “SOS Serve our Students” delivery service will launch at Manchester Metropolitan University, where around 1,500 students are in quarantine, before it is rolled out to other campuses. 

Morrisons chief executive David Potts said: “Students have asked for our help and that’s why we are making sure they can safely access affordable food at this very difficult time. We’re playing our full part in feeding the nation so that no one is left behind.”

Last week the grocer launched a subscription box service, saying demand for online deliveries had soared 56 per cent during the week as coronavirus cases continued to rise. 

It also became the first supermarket to reinstate limits on the number of essential products customers can buy amid concerns over stockpiling. It limited purchases of products such as toilet and disinfectant to three per customer. 

Read more: Eat Out to Help Out wipes £155m off supermarket sales

The company said it had sufficient stock levels but wanted to make sure the products were “available to everyone”.

Tesco and Aldi also brought in similar restrictions in order to prevent a repeat of the panic buying seen at the beginning of the pandemic in March.