Tesco plans to recruit 3,000 new drivers to help it keep pace with demand as its online grocery delivery service continues to grow amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new drivers will be among 16,000 permanent staff – in roles ranging from in-store pickers to distribution centre operatives – hired to support the exceptional growth. This is in addition to the 4,000 additional staff already recruited across the business since the pandemic began.
Before the pandemic, around 9% of Tesco’s sales were online. The figure is now more than 16% of sales, with Tesco expecting online sales of more than £5.5bn this year, up from £3.3bn last year.
The recruitment drive is also likely to be backed by an upscaling of the retailer’s online delivery fleet. Currently Mercedes-Benz Sprinters make up around half of 5,000-plus vehicle fleet, with 1,105 new 314 CDI chassis cabs scheduled to be delivered this year. Each of these new vehicles will be fitted with insulated bodies by Solomon Commercials and Thermo King refrigeration systems.
In April, Tesco became the first retailer to fulfil one million online grocery orders in a week. Tesco now serves nearly 1.5m customers a week online, up from around 600,000 at the start of the pandemic.
Jason Tarry, Tesco UK & ROI CEO, said, “Since the start of the pandemic, our colleagues have helped us to more than double our online capacity, safely serving nearly 1.5 million customers every week and prioritising vulnerable customers to ensure they get the food they need. These new roles will help us continue to meet online demand for the long term.”