Tesco has changed the opening hours at two of its 24-hour stores, cutting the hours and shutting down at night.
The move comes after the supermarket reported low numbers of nighttime shoppers – and other shops may soon follow suit in a bid to cut costs.
One Tesco Extra outlet and one superstore, which were previously open 24-hours will now close at midnight and reopen at 6:00 am. The supermarket giant has not yet disclosed which store locations will be affected, as staff have yet to be consulted. However, the firm said there would be "limited" impact on jobs because other night operations like re-stocking shelves and picking goods for online deliveries – will continue as usual.
Currently, around 400 of Tesco's stores are open 24 hours and the company said that being open late at night was important for many of its customers.
A spokeswoman for the company said: "We're always thinking about how best to serve customers in each of our stores. Where there is a case to look at the opening hours of a store, we will do so, but any decisions will be made locally and our colleagues will be the first to know."
Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb told the Guardian that there is some demand for 24-hour shopping. He explained that shift workers were an example of the customers who make use of these opening hours. However he notes that bigger supermarkets might not be the best choice for catering to this market. "Tesco hypermarkets may not be best suited to meet that demand [...] and there is always online as an alternative," he explained.
Retail analyst Maureen Hinton said it made sense for Tesco to cut the hours of underused 24-hour stores. "All retailers are looking at their productivity and having a huge store open for a handful of customers does not make economic sense – especially with rising employment costs," she explains, adding that if the store is underused at night, the 24-hour opening will not be missed by customers.
On Friday (September 25th), shares in Tesco closed up 1.56 per cent at 167.72 pence.
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