Embattled supermarket giant Tesco is calling time on 24-hour opening at two of its larger stores, Retail Week has learned.
The grocer refused to reveal the locations of the two stores - one Extra store and one superstore - which are now expected to shut at midnight during the week and open at 6am.
Speculation on social media suggested Tesco could be about to axe around-the-clock opening across its entire Extra estate. However, a source close to the situation told Retail Week that 24-hour opening will not end on a widespread basis, since it remains “important” for many customers.
But a spokeswoman for the grocer admitted it would look at the opening times of stores on a case-by-case basis. Currently 400 Tesco Extra stores offer a 24-hour service.
The spokeswoman said: “We’re always thinking about how to best serve customers in each of our stores.
“Where there is a case to look at the opening hours of a store, we will do so, but any decisions will be made locally and our colleagues will be the first to know.”
At the two stores that are scrapping 24-hour opening, it is understood staff will still be required to work night shifts to clean, prepare for online deliveries and restock shelves.
Changing shopper habits
Tesco’s move to shelve overnight openings at two of its stores comes as grocers continue to adapt to changing shopping habits, which have seen larger sheds become out of kilter with consumers’ convenience needs.
The supermarket giant has already closed 43 stores and shelved 49 planned developments. Big four rival Morrisons has revealed plans to shutter 11 more stores, following the sale of its M Local convenience business.
Asda has started opening smaller format stores on high streets, the first two in Deptford and Wealdstone in July. Both shops, which are 6,000 sq ft and 9,000 sq ft respectively, focus on food to go, bakery and ‘meal solutions’.