Supermarket Iceland has created 3,000 new jobs to cope with the huge extra demand for online groceries since the lockdown in March, the company said.
Online orders surged by more than 300% since April as shoppers rushed to book delivery slots and as all non-essential retailers were forced to shut their doors.
The new jobs include extra delivery drivers and more staff in stores for picking online orders, Iceland said.
A trial with food delivery platform Uber Eats has also been launched in London, with plans for a larger rollout, if successful.
Iceland’s job announcement follows similar moves from rivals, hoping to benefit from the accelerated move to online shopping. Before lockdown the grocer had a minor online operation, compared with some of its competitors. But since then orders have soared four-fold.
Ramping up changes, Iceland revealed it now has the ability to handle 750,000 orders every week. Grocers are keen to increase their online capacity because many hope the extra costs involved in each order can be reduced as the number of orders grows.
Iceland is increasing its delivery fleet by 30% and a trial in Hackney, east London, with UberEats will allow customers to place and receive orders in 20 minutes.
David Devany, chief customer and digital officer at Iceland, said: “We’ve been blown away by the demand for deliveries over the past six months with a four-fold increase in online orders since the beginning of lockdown.
“We see no sign of a slowdown in the demand for deliveries in the run up to Christmas, so a recruitment drive for more permanent staff was essential. Our store and delivery colleagues have gone above and beyond during lockdown introducing incredible measures to help their local communities, and I’m proud that our business has been able to adapt to the changing needs of our customer.”
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