Somerfield is preparing to launch its online shopping service within the next couple of weeks as part of its 24-7 home shopping package. And it has almost finished trials of a new eFulfillment picking system, on trial at its Bristol depot, which will speed up the process, making it more efficient and adaptable to increased usage. The Bristol depot, launched last October, currently services 250,000 households in the area, but Somerfield has plans to substantially increase this in 2000. In March a new picking depot is opening in London at Concord Point on the A40. This will represent a threefold increase in the households it could potentially service in NW London. Somerfield also revealed plans to open 18 eFulfillment centres covering 70% of the population over the next two to three years. Marketing director Lisa Riley said: "We are going to be Britain's biggest and most versatile grocery home shopping centre. People spend about 296 hours a year on supermarket shopping ­ time that could be spent doing something a lot more fun." The company embraced home shopping when it bought Flanagans in March last year but was restricted to serving customers in London. Plans are also in place to extend the services on its interactive shopping site on BSkyB's Open tv channel. Within the next two months new facilities, including search options and personalised shopping lists, will be available to speed up the process and make it easier to use. {{NEWS }}