tesco direct

Tesco Direct hopes to avoid delays that hampered the run up to the previous two festive seasons

Tesco has suspended its promise of free next-day click and collect and warned of delivery delays as it looks to manage customer expectations ahead of Black Friday, The Grocer can reveal.

The retailer, which launched its Black Friday offers online yesterday (which will be unleashed this Friday and run until 1 December) announced in September it would be offering free next-day collection in the run up to Christmas.

Last month, when it announced plans for the biggest ever Black Friday promotions, it said it had created extra storage capacity to avoid the delays that plagued Tesco Direct in the run up to the previous two festive seasons.

However, in a message to customers on the site Tesco said this week: “Tesco Black Friday is better than ever, so we’re being realistic about delivery times.

“For some products, ‘pick a date’ delivery will be unavailable and you will need to allow 2-5 days for your Click and Collect orders to arrive in store.”.

The backtrack comes with sources admitting Tesco wants to ensure it “manages expectations” to avoid a repeat of the anger among customers in previous years, which saw a big backlash on social media.

Tesco was forced to apologise to customers in 2015 as its deliveries buckled under the volume of orders from Black Friday and its ill-fated Clubcard Boost promotion, with deliveries delayed for up to nine days.

Tesco subsequently scrapped next day click and collect and introduced minimum order charges across its general merchandise operation but was forced to U-turn amid increasing competition from the likes of Amazon and Sainsbury’s/Argos.

A Tesco spokeswoman told The Grocer: “Our Black Friday event is extremely popular, so we are advising customers that orders will be delivered within two to five days.

“This year we have put in place a number of additional measures to help manage demand, including extra colleagues and improved transport to ensure our orders are despatched as soon as possible.”

Tesco’s 11 days of Black Friday deals, which will involve more than 700 stores, has seen the amount of products on promotion more than treble from 200 to 650.

Last year’s event saw Tesco Direct receive seven orders per second, with a total of 220,000 orders in the day on the Friday itself.