Iceland is set to switch its 1,300 strong fleet of home delivery vans over to Mercedes-Benz Sprinters in a bid to improve its home delivery network.

Over 300 of the new vehicles are expected to be on the road by the end of the year, with 1,300 of Iceland’s 1,600 drivers scheduled to attend courses over the next 12 months to master the new vehicles.

The retailer has praised the Sprinter 313 CDI chassis cab’s fuel-efficiency, route monitoring technology and flexible refrigeration controls, and claimed that the vehicles will produce substantial savings on fuel.

Iceland, which was the first UK supermarket to offer online shopping back in 1998 before scrapping the service in 2005 to focus on home delivery, restarted its online grocery offering back in April. Nick Canning, executive director for people and customers, said he is closely monitoring how online sales will impact the level of in-store home delivery orders.

“What will be interesting to see over Christmas is how online impacts on home delivery and whether more customers embrace it. I still think online orders over Christmas will be in the single digits in comparison to the percentage of in-store orders, but online has certainly got off to a brilliant start.”