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Tesco is teaming up with the German “dark store” delivery group Gorillas to test out 10-minute deliveries from its supermarkets, the first partnership of its kind.
The venture will start at Tesco’s Thornton Heath store in south London and will be expanded to four other locations across the capital in coming months.
A range of more than 2,000 items will be delivered from mini warehouses set up in spare space within the supermarkets.
The deal will help Tesco take on the rapidly growing fast-track delivery sector, which has emerged as high street lockdowns and working from home have accelerated the shift to online shopping.
The market-leading grocery chain launched its own fast-track delivery service, Whoosh, from its convenience stores earlier this year. The service operates from about 60 shops and promises delivery in an hour.
However, Whoosh is facing competition from at least seven fast-growing rivals, including Weezy, Fancy, Getir and Jiffy, as well as Gorillas, which are operating across cities including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.
Expansion has been on the back of more than $15bn (£9.8bn) of investment globally since the beginning of the pandemic, according to financial industry analysts PitchBook.
Gorillas, which was founded in June last year and now operates in nine countries, announced last week it had secured nearly $1bn in its latest funding round.
Despite the race to attract shoppers and become established as the go-to app on their phones, there are concerns about the high cost of setting up hundreds of the “dark store” mini warehouses that are needed in order to offer a decent service. The deal with Tesco enables Gorillas to use relatively cheap spare space in supermarkets that once housed items now largely bought online, such as kitchen appliances.
Jason Tarry, the chief executive of Tesco’s UK and Irish business, said: “The idea that we can reach our customers in just 10 minutes is really exciting. We are committed to being easily the most convenient choice for our customers, enabling them to shop whenever and however they want.”
Adrian Frenzel, the chief operating officer of Gorillas, said: “The co-location partnership enables both brands to bring their strengths to the table and establish a quicker, higher-quality grocery offering to UK consumers. Customers will not only be able to get the best of Tesco within minutes via Gorillas, but will be able to make the most of Tesco’s extraordinary quality range via the Gorillas app.”