Supermarket chain Tesco has added thousands of extra click and collect and home delivery slots to its website to keep up with a surge in demand due to the UK lockdown.

The company has also recruited an extra 7,500 staff, in order to help deliver food.

After the supermarket chain’s click and collect and home delivery slots were filled weeks in advance as customers self-isolated and the UK lockdown began, some struggled to secure a food delivery.

Extra slots, more drivers and more item pickers

The chain has now added more click and collect and delivery slots, and hired more drivers in order to cope with demand.

Tesco has said that it has expanded its click and collect and delivery capacity from 660,000 slots to 780,000, and plans to add a further 100,000 slots in the upcoming weeks.

The major supermarket chain has also recruited over 5,000 pickers to pick out the items from the stores for deliveries, alongside another 2,500 drivers.

Tesco supermarkets will now be opening later to allow time for pickers to put together deliveries, and orders for vulnerable people will be prioritised.

The company has put an 80 item limit on click and collect and home delivery orders, and the chain’s limit of three of each item will also remain in place both in stores and online.

Stores will continue to close by 10pm at the very latest, which was introduced by the supermarket a few weeks ago at its 24-hour branches, in order to give staff more time to replenish shelves.

‘Vital that customers who can come into stores and shop for themselves do so’

However, the CEO of Tesco is encouraging those who can still make it into stores do so, in order to open delivery slots for the vulnerable.

Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, said: “Through a series of measures including more drivers, pickers and vans, we’ll expand the number of slots available each week; but this still isn’t enough to meet the demand.

"For this reason it is vital that customers who can come into stores and shop for themselves do so - so we can free up as many slots as possible for vulnerable people."

NHS shopping hours

Tesco has also introduced special shopping hours for NHS staff.

Those eligible will be able to browse an hour before traditional shop opening hours on Sundays, and will have an hour between 9am and 10am to shop on Tuesdays and Thursdays at all stores except for Express stores, which are open to everyone during those times.

In a statement, Tesco said: “They can come to our large stores one hour before the usual store opening time every Sunday, and will be able to browse the store and select their shopping before the checkouts open.

"All we ask is that they bring a form of ID with them to store, such as an NHS staff card.”