Tesco online shopping soon?

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A South Harris resident is hopeful that Tesco will introduce online shopping in the islands after receiving a letter from the grocery giant.

Harvey Johnstone has been corresponding with the supermarket for almost two years and has finally received some welcome news.

In the letter Tesco’s Customer Service Executive, Louise Skelly, explained: “We are currently in the proposal stage [for a Home Shopping delivery service] but hope to have the plans finalised by the beginning of next year.”

If it goes ahead it would mean islanders could shop online for groceries which would be delivered to their door during a requested time slot.

Mr Johnstone said: “My argument has been that it is communities like this [South Harris] where Internet shopping would be an asset.”

He said the distances to be travelled to reach a supermarket makes it a chore that can take up to four hours to complete when driving time is included.

He explained: “It’s okay for us, we are semi-retired but it becomes even more of a problem if you are working five days a week.”

During his two year campaign Mr Johnston said he was told by Tesco that 97.3% of the population are covered by their Internet shopping service, but was given “no valid reason” why the Western Isles were not part of this.

He has also been in contact with local politicians Alasdair Allan MSP and Angus MacNeil MP to raise the issue.

Commenting on the latest in the dot.com developments MSP Alasdair Allan commented: “If this is an indication that Tescos will be treating the Western Isles in an equitable way with other parts of the country, this is a good development.”

It is still uncertain what areas would be covered by the delivery service if it is introduced as Tesco would not comment.