Dunnes Stores set to enter grocery delivery market
Company will soon put 70 delivery trucks on the road, after small trial that started in July
Dunnes Stores. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Dunnes Stores is set to shake up the Irish grocery market in the run-up to Christmas with a move into online retailing that will see it put up to 70 dedicated home delivery trucks on the road as early as next month.
Although the exact timing of the roll-out of the new service has yet to be finalised, The Irish Times understands that the retailer is anxious to widen a trial that has been running out of one of its Dublin shops since July.
It has plans to offer the service nationwide but will initially focus on Dublin and surrounding counties.
Rather than fulfilling grocery orders from a single shop or multiple shops, much of the new operation will centre on a so-called “dark store” – a dedicated fulfilment depot that will have easy access to the M50 and will allow Dunnes Stores to reach consumers in several counties quickly.
The depot will not be open to the public.
In July, Dunnes Stores made its first, tentative steps into grocery delivery from its flagship outlet in Cornelscourt, south Dublin, for customers living within a 10km radius. Orders that exceeded €50 had the €3 delivery fee waived.
As part of the trial, it had five trucks delivering more than 100 orders each day. If there are 70 trucks operating as part of the expanded service, Dunnes Stores could soon be fulfilling well over 1,000 orders on a daily basis.
Unlike competitors Tesco and SuperValu, Dunnes Stores has not fully embraced the model of delivering food to people’s homes, although it does have a click-and-collect service for clothes and homeware.
Its apparent reluctance to offer grocery deliveries has left it isolated as even the discount chains Aldi and Lidl have moved into that space, with Lidl offering deliveries through a company called Buymie and Aldi partnering with food delivery service Deliveroo to trial home grocery deliveries for customers in Dublin.
The popularity of online grocery shopping continues, with sales growing 122 per cent over the latest four weeks, according to figures published by retail analyst Kantar this week. Such sales added €72.9 million to the total market in the past three months, with new shoppers accounting for almost a quarter of the €133.6 million spent on online groceries during that time.
Dunnes Stores declined to comment on its plans.