Waitrose dark store
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Supermarkets to introduce more 'dark stores'

Dark stores - supermarkets that contain only store employees picking the items customers have ordered online for them to collect - are becoming increasingly popular.

Noreen Lawrence, branch manager at Waitrose's dotcom fulfilment centre, told the Today programme's Tom Bateman that in the store they "still group things together in certain layouts, but there are efficiencies built in" to fit the specific purpose of the branch.

Jonathan Reynolds, academic director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management, told presenter Sarah Montague there is "big expansion in this area".

Sainsbury's is soon to open its first dark store, while Waitrose and Tesco also have branches in "highly-populated areas".

Mr Reynolds also explained that as well as customers picking up their shopping from the store once it has been bagged up, companies in France are "having drive-through operations as well".

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday 9 January 2014.