Tesco scraps 24-hour opening in 76 stores - including Lowestoft and Dereham
15:53 29 January 2016
Lowestoft Tesco Superstore and Dereham Tesco Extra will no longer be open 24-hours a day in what the supermarket chain has called a way to “improve the shopping experience for customers”.
The UK’s biggest grocery chain said 76 of its stores would be hit by the move, with a “minimal” impact on staff.
Tesco said the rise in popularity of online shopping meant it was no longer seeing many customers in stores overnight.
The change will come into force between March 14 and April 11 this year when opening times at 24-hour stores change to between 6am and midnight.
Tesco has 3,500 stores across the UK employing more than 310,000 people.
Tony Hoggett, Tesco retail director, said staff would still work during the night to re-stack shelves and get stores ready for the next day’s trading.
He added: “We’re always thinking about how to serve our customers better in each of our stores and with the growth of online grocery shopping, these stores saw very few customers during the night.”
The announcement comes after Tesco posted a surprise rise in sales over the festive season in what proved to be a stronger-than-expected period for the grocery sector.
The supermarket hailed a “strong Christmas” after revealing a 1.3pc rise in UK like-for-like sales over the six weeks to January 9.
Tesco said it attracted more shoppers and sold more items, with transactions over the six-week period up 3.4pc.
It said lower prices - of around 5pc year-on-year on key items - and moves to add 4,000 additional “Here to Help” staff in stores helped the sales improvement.
Group-wide like-for-like sales rose 2.1pc in the six weeks, thanks to a 4.1pc surge in its international arm.
The result marked a welcome improvement after a grim couple of years, with Tesco uncovering a £326m accounting black hole in autumn 2014 that plunged the group into crisis, while in April last year it reported a staggering £6.4bn loss.
The big four supermarkets have been locked in a price war in a bid to protect market share following the rise of German rivals Lidl and Aldi.