UK retail giant Tesco has launched the country’s first drive-thru supermarket.

The retailer’s Baldock Extra store in Hertfordshire will be used as a trial store for the drive-thru service, the firm said today (23 August), before a decision is made on rolling-out to additional areas if successful.

Tesco said the store, run by the firm’s dotcom team, has been designed to help busy customers who want their shop picked and packed but who don’t have the time to wait at home for delivery.

“This will be especially popular with busy mums who have the school run and children’s activities to manage,” said Laura Wade-Gery, CEO of Tesco dotcom and Tesco Direct. “It also offers a solution to parents who want to avoid the challenge of shopping in a busy store with children in tow but can’t afford the time to stay in for the shop to arrive to their door.”

To use the service, customers order their shopping on the website, choosing the ‘click and collect’ option and booking a two-hour collection slot. They can then collect anytime inside the two-hour window.

A flat GBP2 (US$4.66) picking and packing charge will apply instead of the sliding scale of home delivery charges, which begin at GBP3.

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By GlobalData

For the trial, shopping will be held in a delivery van awaiting collections and if this is successful, Tesco said it will explore how stores could be adapted for the future to make drive-through shopping a permanent service.

The trial comes as Tesco opens its latest dotcom store in Greenford in response to increasing customer demand for online deliveries in West London. The store will introduce an earlier delivery time of 7am for customers in its catchment area and will deliver using a new fleet of vans running from landfill gas.