A BRADFORD supermarket which made the switch to digital has tripled the number of staff working for the business since the start of the pandemic.

SaveCo Online, the e-commerce arm of Save Co Cash & Carry on Thornbury Road, is the latest expansion drive of the third generation family business with a 50 year history in Bradford.

Launched in the spring of last year amid the first peak of the pandemic, the online supermarket grew rapidly, delivering groceries and fresh meat to customers across the UK.

With staff numbers now three times what they were at launch and rising, the business told the T&A that it has found a niche - serving customers who either cannot find certain products in the larger supermarkets or find it difficult to book delivery slots.

In a short space of time, SaveCo Online grew from initially serving local customers through Facebook as they needed to self-isolate to now taking orders from as far as the Scottish Highlands, Wales and the South of England.

In further news from the company, the cash and carry has been listed in the coveted Digital Enterprise Top 100 for its digital transformation and embracing of e-commerce technology with the new online service.

Reflecting on the company's success over the last nine months, Naz Hussain, head of marketing, said: “We’ve been really overwhelmed with just how fast the business has grown over the last few months.

"We did anticipate the need for independent online supermarkets at the start of the pandemic when the big supermarkets struggled to cope with demand but were surprised by how quickly the demand for our products grew and continues to grow nationwide.”

Naz added: “The focus this year is on improving our same day delivery service for local customers across West Yorkshire where we will be able to have customers’ groceries delivered within a couple of hours of the order.”

Commercial director Fairaz Ahmed commented, “With a warehouse full of over 35,000 products and only a fraction of these online, the future is about growth in more ways than one for SaveCo Online. We’re expanding product lines daily, looking to double our workforce again in the next quarter and intend to grow the scope of services we offer our customers.”

It follows trends reported by SIB, a regeneration charity, which found people in Bradford have spent 74 per cent more on food supplies since covid-19 took hold of our lives.

Between March 31 to the week ending October, the dataset showed that grocery sales shot up throughout the first wave and beyond.

Mark Goldstone, head of business representation & policy at the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "Online retailers appear to be the big winners as people changed their shopping habits, perhaps forever."