Waitrose has stepped up the roll out of its click-and-collect service for John Lewis online orders ahead of the crucial festive season.

The grocer has introduced the service to 27 more stores taking its total to 219 of the grocer’s shops.

Some 55% of John Lewis click-and-collect orders are picked up in Waitrose branches.

Collection of online orders in grocery stores appears likely to be a key battle ground this Christmas. Asda will introduce 10 new grocery drive thru collection points a week in the run up to the festive season and feature it in 300 stores by the end of November.

Asda has forecast 75% of its customers will shop more than one channel this Christmas.

Rival Tesco is also broadening its collection offer. It this week unveiled its first off-site collection points at a school and two car parks in York.

In July, Waitrose introduced collection lockers at its Bracknell head office with a roll out to stores and off-site locations is slated for next year. It is also piloting drive thru grocery collection points.