Source: Waitrose

The retailer launched the testing programme in December

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has expanded the roll out of rapid coronavirus testing for staff to 24 further sites.

The upmarket retailer has introduced testing facilities to a total of 64 locations across England, up from 40 sites in December 2020, The Grocer can reveal.

The sites include 27 Waitrose supermarkets, 24 John Lewis branches, supply chain sites, Waitrose.com fulfilment centres and a John Lewis textiles factory in Lancashire.

The testing has been rolled out through a partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care and is conducted on a voluntary basis. Staff administer the test themselves and receive their result via email within around 30 minutes.

The expanded programme gives JLP the capacity to test around 23,500 partners and temporary agency workers each week. Around 60,000 tests have now taken place.

The retailer began by trialling rapid coronavirus testing at its distribution centre in Milton Keynes last November. Some 1,000 partners and temporary agency staff volunteered to be tested up to three times a week as part of the pilot and around a third of those who tested positive did not display symptoms.

JLP said the rapid testing programme has helped protect its team and customers by quickly identifying those who need to self isolate.

“It has given partners extra peace of mind about coming into work and helped us manage partner absence more effectively, especially during extremely busy periods,” a John Lewis Partnership spokeswoman told The Grocer.