Tesco unrolled its new delivery service today with deliveries to customers throughout the North Mainland – the most northerly delivery route Tesco has even undertaken.
The new service will see deliveries throughout Mainland Shetland with plans being finalised for delivery to the isles.
Tesco has invested in four new Mercedes delivery vans that will take fresh, chilled and frozen produce to customers.
Store manager Paul Clelland said he was delighted at the response to the launch. Mr Clelland, who was taking part in the first deliveries, said he was looking forward to meeting customers on their doorsteps and that the service had been built around the requirements of customers.
In charge of deliveries is manager Abby MacDougall who is assisted by team leader Leanna Anderson. Around 30 jobs have been created to deliver the service including nine customer delivery assistants – drivers in old money – 12 personal shoppers, who make up the orders, and a customer loyalty assistant.
The vans will be delivering to the West Side and North Mainland four days a week. Tesco also plans to launch its click and collect system next week, where customers can order online and pick up their orders from the click and collect bay at the side of the Tesco store in Lerwick.
News of the delivery service recieved a mixed reception from operators of country shops.
Manager of Ollaberry Community Co-op Kathleen Ratter said she feared for the future of rural shops if Tesco started delivering four-times weekly to the country areas.
“It is a threat to peerie country shops. There are a lot of people supporting wis at the moment, but I do worry about this. If people do not keep supporting their local shop there will be no local shop.”
She added that Ollaberry had been very well supported by the community since opening as a co-operative nearly 20 years ago, but that trade had “taken an awful drop” with the opening of Tesco. The creation of a rural delivery service would create another challenge.
Things could possibly be worse in winter with folk choosing to stay snug inside and order from the internet instead of nipping to the local shop.
Bixter Shop owner Margaret Johnston hoped that the roll-out of the Tesco service would not affect sales at Bixter. “We are a top-up shop – the type of shop that someone comes to if they have forgotten to get anything. Hopefully it will not make much difference.”
• How are rural shops planning to face up to the new challenge from the Tesco delivery service? Find out in Friday’s Shetland Times, which includes a special Rural Shops feature.