UK: Tesco to launch 'drive-through' shopping after profit fall

Supermarket giant Tesco is to start a "drive-through" service as it seeks to increase sales after its first fall in profits for nearly two decades. 

Under the "click and collect" scheme, online shoppers will be able to buy products on the internet before picking them up from one of 150 designated stores, it was reported.

Shoppers will have to pay £2 for the service but it will free them from the inconvenience of having to wait in for deliveries and spares Tesco's costs on vans and drivers.

Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, is also planning to sell off some of its huge Extra supermarket as well as renting out space in others. It is being seen as an admission that it has expanded too far too fast, a newspaper reported.

It comes as profits for the group, which has 3,000 UK outlets, slid 11.6% to £1.66 billion for the six months to September, compared to last year. It is the first drop in 18 years.

Tesco is being hit by competition from rivals as well as shoppers cutting back amid the downturn - although there was a small glimmer of optimism in figures showing a rise in UK sales of 0.1% over the last three months compared to last year.

But the rise still trails behind the performance of Sainsbury's over a comparable period and Tesco chief executive Phil Clarke yesterday spoke of the possibility of downsizing Extra stores - some of which have already been rented out to third parties such as restaurant chain Nando's.

The retail giant is suffering after years of growth which saw it expand to overtake Sainsbury's as the country's biggest supermarket in 1995.

But now it has been caught in a squeeze between budget chains such as Aldi, Lidl and Iceland at one end of the market and Sainsbury's and Waitrose at the other.

It has embarked on a £1 billion turnaround plan which includes sending out money-off vouchers as well as the new "drive-through" service, the Daily Mail reported.


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