UK supermarket chain Waitrose has decided to increase the delivery slots by more than three times available each week through its Waitrose & Partners Rapid service.

The service has been under trial at eight London shops, as well as in Hove, East Sussex. It will be extended to more than 2.5 million households.

It will enable shoppers to take the delivery of up to 25 grocery items in less than two hours or on the same day.

The supermarket has kept at least 40% of these new slots for the elderly and vulnerable customers. director Ben Stimson said: “We are now making more online deliveries than Christmas week, every week, and have increased slots to reach 20% more customers than usual.

“We know there is demand for more slots and we are doing all we can to give as many people as possible the opportunity to get the essentials they need, especially those who need them the most.

“In addition to opening up more channels through expanding Waitrose Rapid and increasing the number of stores where online orders can be collected, we have recruited hundreds of drivers and increased the number of extra people-hours picking orders by nearly 50%.”

Additionally, Waitrose will roll out its online collection service in around 70 further shops in the country by the end of next month. The company noted that 40 shops may start offering the service from this month.

The move will see the addition of 10,000 more online grocery collection slots, thereby increasing the total number available to 30,000 every week.

Outlets in Kingston, Sevenoaks, Wimbledon, East Sheen, Westfield White City, Northwood and Bloomsbury have already started offering grocery collection. It is planning to expand to more locations in the next few weeks.