Saturday 20 July 2019

Tesco trialling delivery robot in technology push

The supermarket could also open standalone Tesco Finest stores.

Starship makes robots which perform local delivery tasks (Tesco)
Starship makes robots which perform local delivery tasks (Tesco)

By Alys Key, Press Association City Reporter

Tesco has revealed that it is testing a delivery robot, as it detailed a raft of new ideas for the supermarket’s future development.

In a Capital Markets Day for analysts, the supermarket said it was looking to save costs and serve customers better by working with technology companies on the shopping experience.

One collaboration is with Starship, a US-based company which makes autonomous delivery devices which can carry items within a four-mile radius.

Tesco is testing the use of the devices at its Milton Keynes stores which allow local customers to place an order via an app.

The Co-operative has previously announced that it is trialling deliveries using the Starship robots in Milton Keynes. It has since rolled the scheme out to a second store.

It comes as food retailers increasingly turn to local solutions to provide fast delivery for customers, with Ocado trialling its one-hour Zoom service this year while Amazon and Morrisons extended their same-day deliveries to more UK cities this month.

Tesco also said its ambition was to improve its delivery options to make them more convenient for smaller “top-up shops”. It is also looking at auto-replenishment and other subscription services.

Meanwhile, Tesco also flagged several other potential areas for growth, including the possibility of opening small standalone stores under the brand name Tesco Finest, the supermarket’s own-brand premium food range.

The £4 billion acquisition of Booker, which was formally completed in March of last year, has also given the supermarket fresh opportunities.

Bruno Monteyne, an analyst at Bernstein who attended the Capital Markets Day, said: “The next step driving Booker forward will be additional products and services, and a major step-up in the service proposition further down the line (eg. same day delivery).”

More details of the retailer’s plans will be revealed on Wednesday when chief executive Dave Lewis is due to speak to the media.

PA Media

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