Tesco Direct to close taking supermarket's online electrical gear with it

Tesco Direct, the supermarket's online destination for electrical goods, software and homeware, is set to close.

In a statement from the grocery giant, Tesco stated the the online store had "no route to profitability" and was a "small, loss-making part of the business."

Tesco Direct will close on July 9, with 500 staff managing the website and distribution center facing redundancy.

'Significant challenges'

"Tesco Direct has faced a number of significant challenges, including high costs for fulfilment and online marketing, which have prevented it from delivering a sustainable offer as a standalone non-food business," continues the press release.

The website was always a bit of a strange proposition. Though a mainstay for online shoppers during the Black Friday and Christmas rush, Tesco's online business was unusually split across two destinations: Tesco.com, which handled groceries, and Tesco.com/direct, which handled essentially everything else. 

Baskets couldn't be shared, meaning anyone shopping through Tesco Direct would have to, for instance, make two separate orders for their lemons and their PS4 games. So from a pure user journey point of view, the decision makes sense.

"We want to offer our customers the ability to buy groceries and non-food products in one place and that's why we are focusing our investment into one online platform," said Tesco UK head Charles Wilson.

"This decision has been a very difficult one to make, but it is an essential step towards establishing a more sustainable non-food offer and growing our business for the future."

Raise a glass to Tesco Direct, and wish the best to its staff in limbo. But it's safe to assume much of its business will soon become part of the core Tesco.com proposition.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.