Tesco’s one-hour delivery service Whoosh will be available from at least 600 stores by the end of next year, the supermarket’s CEO Ken Murphy revealed today.

The service – which offers fast delivery for a flat £5 fee – was quietly launched in May, from a single store in Wolverhampton.

Whoosh – offering a range of Tesco’s most popular 1,700 products, including fresh food, essentials and household products – is now offered at 115 stores, with Murphy saying it would be available at 200 stores by the end of next month.

“It is a mission that customers now want and we’re clear on that,” he said on the supermarket’s Christmas trading call. “Whether it’s incremental is hard to tell but it’s somewhere we need to be in and it needs to fit in with overall proposition so they can tap in with our wider strategy, with shoppers able to buy from us wherever and whenever.” 

At present deliveries are made by courier company Stuart by bike, moped or car after orders are picked from shelves by Tesco staff. But the “sweet spot”, Murphy said, was when Whoosh could leverage Tesco’s ‘urban fulfillment centres’ (UFCs) “because you can capture an order and process it through a UFC in seven minutes”.

“So all of a sudden you could be offering a much larger shopping trip in a much shorter time frame than we currently do,” Murphy said.

The CEO said regardless of Whoosh’s one-hour delivery promise, most orders arrived within 30 minutes.

Despite the supermarket’s ambitious plans for Whoosh, Tesco continues to partner with rapid grocery player Gorillas, with which in November it entered a “commercial and real-estate partnership”.

The retailer and rapid grocer is establishing “co-located physical warehouses” within five Tesco stores, from which deliveries are fulfilled.