Sainsbury’s opens “dark” stores delivering goods to the most vulnerable in an hour but remaining closed to the public

Sainsbury’s has opened its first “dark” convenience store which will deliver goods to vulnerable customers via bicycle within an hour but remain closed to the public.

The supermarket, which was forced to temporarily close a number of its local convenience stores across the UK due to “significantly few customers”, is now planning to use some of these locations as logistics hubs to deliver goods to the most vulnerable.

It’s convenience store in Blackfriars, London, has become the retailer’s first “dark” store, will utilise its fast bicycle delivery service Chop Chop.

Though customers will not be able to physically enter the shop, those within a three-kilometre radius can order a “top up shop” of up to 20 grocery products through the Chop Chop app, and have them delivered to their home within an hour in some cases.

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This offer is specifically targeted at those self-isolating or unable to get to a local store, offering a refreshed list of around 400 essential grocery items and household products.

While the service is currently restricted to the store in Blackfriars, Sainsbury’s says it will roll it out to more locations if the offer proves popular with customers.

Sainsbury’s expects to be able to reach 3500 customers from a single store and is currently working with its delivery partner to recruit more riders.

“Demand for home delivery has reached unprecedented levels and we are doing all we can to find new ways to serve more of our customers,” Sainsbury’s chief digital officer Clodagh Moriarty said.

“We are pleased to use our Chop Chop service as an extension of our groceries online offer to enable our customers to quickly get food and other essential items delivered to their homes. While we are starting the trial in London we hope to be able to bring this fast delivery service to other cities in the UK very soon.”

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