Asda, Sainsbury’s and M&S change shopping rules to cut queues ahead of Christmas

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With Christmas just around the corner, many Britons will have started festive preparations. Asda, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer have introduced technology to help make this easier.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed how supermarkets operate this year.

Social distancing rules meant that some stores have had long queues outside.

As government coronavirus guidance has changed, many stores have relaxed rules and lengthy queues are found less often.

However, Sainsbury’s, Asda and M&S have introduced virtual queuing systems so shoppers do not have to line up outside at all.


The retailer is using a queuing app in 55 branches across the UK.

The app, which is provided by Ufirst, was first trialled in July and has now been rolled out more widely.

When shoppers head to stores, they can use the app to check-in to the queue at their local store.

Customers will receive a notification when they have reached the front of the queue and they can simply turn up and bypass any possible queues.

Those without a smartphone can be added to the queue by a member of staff.


Earlier this year, Asda also tested out a queuing app which was run by Qudini.

The technology has been rolled out to roughly 50 of its stores.

Similarly, customers can log into the app and secure their shop in the queue.

They will be sent a text when it is their turn to enter the stores, which will reduce the need for waiting out in the cold winter weather.

Marks & Spencer

Those hoping to pick up shopping from M&S Foodhalls can do this by booking ahead.

While walk-ins are welcome, customers can choose to book a 30 minute slot before visiting their local branch.

Using the ‘Sparks Book & Shop’ system, shoppers simply turn during their selected time and check in with hosts at the store entrance.

The online reservation service is available at 566 stores nationwide.

M&S stores director Helen Milford said: “With winter ahead, we know customers are increasingly concerned about queuing, so in response, we wanted to deliver a quick, digital solution to help them shop.

“Designed by our in-house tech teams – Book & Shop does just that, helping Sparks customers guarantee a slot at a time that suits them and removing the need to queue should there be one.

“Of course customers will always be able to visit M&S without a slot but we hope this is a small way we can help make things a little easier for our customers.”

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