Sainsbury's has increased its online capacity by 50% in time for the festive period.

It has hired 350 more drivers, brought in 400 new vans and ordered thousands more blue delivery boxes.

Sainsbury's online now has 1,800 drivers. All staff recently recruited to handle the extra Christmas deliveries will be kept on permanently as the supermarket prepares to increase this side of its business.

The retailer has also just completed a two-year roll out of one-hour delivery slots throughout the UK and has extended its online coverage to Northern Ireland, Devon and new areas of Scotland. The company recently introduced a new web platform to improve its online offer. The upgrade was timed to coincide with Christmas, said acting head of online Simon Taylor. "Christmas is especially strong for us so we know there will be enough demand to run at full capacity," he said. "The new platform has speeded up the shopping process by about 15 to 20 minutes."