The retailer is also in the process of adding 150 new delivery vans to its fleet, which will enable it to offer further increases in delivery slots to customers over the coming weeks.
Since the beginning of the year Waitrose has been scaling up its online operation, increasing the amount of weekly slots it can offer to customers as well as covering more of the country. In February it announced that a further 24 shops would be made delivery shops between now and 1st September, when Waitrose.com becomes the only place shoppers can order Waitrose food online. Three of these 24 shops are due to go live with a delivery service this week.
Nearly 90% of active UK postcodes can now order from Waitrose.com. There are 173 Waitrose shops that deliver Waitrose.com orders (including the three being added this week), and 26 of these are now delivering more than 1000 orders each week, providing a network of delivery hubs across the country.
Two Customer Fulfilment Centres in Coulsdon and Enfield support the additional demand in London - the latter of which opened on 7th May.
While Waitrose.com is expanding rapidly, demand for online slots is still outstripping supply, and Waitrose has been working to prioritise vulnerable customers who need deliveries the most, including those on the government lists of clinically vulnerable people. The Waitrose Rapid service has recently trebled its deliveries to 7,000 per week, with at least 40% of the slots reserved for vulnerable customers. The service offers up to 25 products for delivery within two hours.
Says Waitrose.com director Ben Stimson "The expansion plans we had in place for Waitrose.com have allowed us to respond as best we can to the huge surge in demand in recent months - especially from vulnerable groups who need home delivery services. We're seeing a fundamental shift to many people's shopping habits, and we're incredibly proud of how our shops have scaled up our online operations at such speed."
The new vans are quieter and more efficient than previous models used by the retailer, and offer 19% more delivery capacity.
Waitrose.com has processed more than 150,000 online orders in a week for the first time. The figure is more than double the amount of weekly orders at the start of this year and represents a significant milestone in its online expansion plans.