Health-focused grocery brand Planet Organic is to go fully nationwide for the first time as it expands its online business across the UK.
The London retailer told the PA news agency it chose to accelerate plans to expand its home delivery operations across the UK after seeing the spike in demand for online groceries following the pandemic.
Planet Organic currently serves the capital through its 11 London stores and has previously offered online shopping.
However, it has now invested to offer its full range to nationwide customers for the first time.
Peter Marsh, chief executive officer, told PA: “If you would have asked me about our plans for e-commerce in January, I would have said it was an important area but not necessarily a priority.
“It’s an area which has been historically difficult to make profit and our locations in London have been doing well.
“But Covid has created a set of circumstances where we wanted to offer as much as possible outside of our stores, so now we think it is a great opportunity to reach out to more regional customers.”
Two weeks before the first lockdown in March, Planet Organic expanded its store operations with the acquisition of rival As Nature Intended.
In recent months, the retailer has closed two of the acquired sites but said it expects to open another two locations in London suburbs over the next year.
Mr Marsh said its stores in London suburbs performed “solidly” through the pandemic as workers stayed at home.
However, he added that its food-to-go business and city centre stores had a “disastrous” few months due to the rise in home-working and fewer tourists.
He said this only stressed its need to strengthen its online offering.
Mr Marsh said: “We’ve invested heavily in digital, digital marketing and fulfilment logistics as well as in the packaging solutions and the recycling systems put in place around them.
“Our customers outside London frequently ask for nationwide delivery on our fresh food and drink range, from kombucha to organic fruit and veg.
“And now, in making all items available for delivery, we bring our differentiated offer to the whole of the UK.”