Online shopping rings death knell for Tesco 24hr stores

Tesco FeatTesco are to close 76 stores which previously offered 24 hour shopping, these 76 stores will now shut at midnight and not re-open until 6am the following morning.

The new closing hours will kick in between the 14th March and 11th April 2016. Tesco say that it will improve the shopping experience for customers and that more Tesco colleague time will be freed up to replenish products on the shelves overnight, which will mean better availability of products and better looking stores when they open their doors to customers each morning.

Tony Hoggett, Retail Director for Tesco said “We’re always thinking about how to serve our customers better in each of our stores and with the growth of online grocery shopping, these stores saw very few customers during the night“.

Tesco had 400 stores which opened 24 hours a day, so closing 76 is less than 25% and in fact if they had few night owl customers using them it’s hardly worth keeping them open. If you’re a Tesco customer do you really need to do your hypermarket shopping in the middle of the night, or would you prefer to go online to place your order and pick up some groceries from a convenience store or garage on the way home?

Of course some customers may simply decide to shop elsewhere, but the reality is they’ll probably still go to Tesco. It’s not like “24 hour” opening really was 24 hours anyway, the one time I tried to go to my local 24 hour Tesco I discovered that they still had restricted hours on Sundays.

Taking something away that shoppers have become accustomed to never goes down well, even if as in the case of these 76 Tesco stores most customers weren’t using the longer opening hours anyway. Will we see more stores (both Tesco and other supermarkets) operating ever more restricted opening hours as the move online continues? Do you do some or all of your grocery shopping online or do you still have the weekly trip to the shops?