Briefing

Amazon takes on U.K. supermarkets with free grocery delivery

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The e-commerce giant has scrapped its monthly delivery charge for Prime members in London and surrounding areas, with the goal of offering it for free across the country by the end of the year. (Financial Times)

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Talking point: Amazon is taking advantage of surging demand for online food sales, which have more than doubled in the U.K. between January and June and are expected to grow 76.2 per cent this year. U.K. online grocer Ocado—which, at the height of panic-buying, placed shoppers in virtual queues with wait times of more than two hours—reported a 27 per cent increase in sales in the first half of its fiscal year. It has since expanded its delivery venture with Canada’s Sobeys. Similar to their Canadian counterparts, British grocers have shifted to focus on strengthening online services: Sainsbury’s is trialing a virtual queueing app, while Tesco became the first British retailers to fulfill more than one million online grocery orders in a week, after hiring 4,000 new drivers and 12,000 pickers. Amazon’s U.K. expansion follows a move in October 2019 to eliminate fees on grocery deliveries for Prime members in the United States.