Public now shopping like they did a decade ago, says Tesco boss

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the public’s shopping habits, which have reverted to how they were 10 or 15 years ago, the head of Tesco has said.

Chief executive Dave Lewis told the BBC “just about everything” in the business has changed since the outbreak.

Mr Lewis said that, while the number of sales in April had almost halved, customers were buying twice as much on average.

“People are shopping once a week, a little like they did 10 or 15 years ago, rather than two, three or four times a week that was happening before the crisis,” he said.

Mr Lewis said a significant change is the increase in online shopping, with only 600,000 deliveries per week prior to the pandemic.

For the first time, the supermarket now provides one million online delivery slots a week.

Mr Lewis said Tesco is expected to add a further 200,000 in the next two weeks, particularly to help vulnerable customers.

The supermarket boss said incidents of panic-buying had seen seven weeks worth of sales of certain goods in a number of days.

He added that the food chain is “now back in good shape”, though stocks of flour remain low.

He said: “I think the food chain has done really very well. Two weeks after such a big demand spike everything did recover, so there is resilience.”

Tesco has hired around 45,000 temporary workers to help with expanding online deliveries as well as cover for the more than 50,000 staff who were unable to work due to Covid-19.

“I think what was really quite humbling was the willingness of people to come and work in a supermarket and help us feed the nation,” Mr Lewis said.

“We’ve had some very interesting new colleagues, from BA pilots, West End theatre, to racing drivers.”

Mr Lewis added that social distancing measures in-store, such as protective screens and guided routes, would remain for the foreseeable future.

Last week around 200 Tesco employees in one region of the UK were given the option of being tested for Covid-19 if they had symptoms, as part of a trial.

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS