Our latest response to COVID-19: 31 March

After the first week of national lockdown, it feels like we are beginning to settle into a new rhythm. At Tesco, we’ve continued to adjust the way we run our business as we respond to the latest guidance from Government.

As we’ve done for the last two weeks, I wanted to write and update you on the measures we’re taking, and on the latest situation in our stores.

Food for all

The good news is that, thankfully, most of the panic buying seems to have eased, and a new more normal pattern is emerging.

  • In fresh food, our stock levels have returned to almost normal levels, with plenty of fruit and vegetables available. In packaged groceries, the recovery will take a few more days – most stores will have stock of just about everything, but in a few product areas we may still have some gaps.
  • Our store-wide limit of 3 items per customer on every product line remains. As always, we would encourage you to buy only what you need, so that everyone has access to the essentials.
  • To get our supply chain running smoothly again, we are focusing on simple pricing for single products, and have removed multi-buy promotions. Easter eggs are one exception – we bought our stock before recent events, so there are plenty to go around and we’ll continue with our promotions as normal.
  • We’ve extended our shopping times for NHS workers, and continue to hold our priority hours for elderly and vulnerable customers.
Safety for everyone
  • Last week we introduced new social distancing measures, and we filmed a new ad with Tesco colleagues summarising them. Please follow the advice to help us keep you and our colleagues safe.
  • We want to help as many people as possible who truly need our delivery service, and so we have deliberately not restricted new online customers. We hope our existing online customers understand our approach, in these challenging circumstances. But to make it work, we also need your support: please ‘think before you click’ and shop in store, if you can do so safely.
  • We’ve already expanded our Home Delivery and Click & Collect capacity to around 780,000 delivery slots this week, up from 660,000 two weeks ago, with plans to increase this by another 100,000 in the coming weeks.
  • To help us pick more orders, stores with an online grocery operation will open their doors a little later – from 8am. You can check the opening hours for your local store on our website.
  • The Government has asked our industry to help people that they have identified as particularly vulnerable and who don’t have their own support network. We will prioritise orders for these people and we will be in touch with them by email, as we receive the list from the Government.
Supporting our colleagues
  • Many of our colleagues are now having to follow Government advice and self-isolate. As you’ll know from our previous updates, we continue to support our vulnerable or self-isolating colleagues with full pay.
  • In the last 10 days, more than 35,000 new colleagues have joined Tesco, including pickers and drivers. The response to our call for new recruits has been incredible, with over 1 million visitors to our careers website.
  • Thank you for the patience you’ve shown our colleagues – your appreciation means a huge amount to our teams. Please also spare a thought for our new colleagues, learning the ropes at an incredibly busy period. They may not have all the facts that you’d expect from a Tesco colleague at their fingertips just yet.
Supporting our communities

In the last year we’ve donated approximately 25 million meals from our stores and distribution centres. We’ve also donated almost £70m to good causes through our charity partnerships, community grants and colleague fundraising.

However, some of the community organisations that we work with are really under pressure at the moment, and so we have tried to identify the best ways to help and today confirm a £30 million package of support:

  • We currently donate £3million of food every month through our Community Food Connection scheme and distribution centres. On top of that, we will also provide £15 million of food donations (ambient and fresh) to FareShare and the Trussell Trust over the next 12 weeks – food they need for distribution to community groups and food banks. In addition, we’ll donate £1m between the two organisations to support their continuing operations
  • We will focus £2m of funding from our Bags of Help community donation scheme to charities that are helping the most vulnerable
  • Building on our existing partnership with the British Red Cross, we are donating £2m to help them with the extra costs they face in supporting people in need
  • Our stores have access to over £1m of funding so they can support causes in their local neighbourhood

As the Prime Minister has said, it looks like we are nearer to the beginning of all this than the end. We are still learning, and still adjusting, so that we can provide you with the food and essentials you need.

I’d like to say a big thank you for your support and your understanding as we work through these changes. Everyone at Tesco is committed to providing you with the safest shopping experience possible, but we will need your help to do this.

Stay well, and thank you for your continued support.

Together, we can do this.

Dave Lewis

You may also like