Aldi UK to sell food online for first time during coronavirus crisis

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LONDON (Reuters) - Discount supermarket chain Aldi UK is to sell groceries online for the first time to help vulnerable people and those self-isolating during the coronavirus crisis.

From Friday it will sell food parcels on its website, containing 22 products including tinned soup, rice, pasta, chocolate, antibacterial handwash and toilet roll, it said on Thursday. The parcels will be priced at 24.99 pounds ($31.24).

Britain’s fifth-largest supermarket chain, with 875 stores and an 8.2% market share, has previously restricted online sales to wine and its “Specialbuys” range of non-food items such as electrical goods and garden tools.

“We ... understand that, for some, visiting one of our stores is not an option at the moment,” said Fritz Walleczek, managing director for corporate responsibility.

British supermarket groups’ online delivery businesses accounted for about 8% of the grocery market before the health crisis.

They are being rapidly ramped up to meet some of the extra demand. But even if delivery capacity doubled, some 85% of the market would still need to be served by stores.

Reporting by James Davey; Editing by David Goodman