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Sainsbury’s and Tesco technical issues: Supermarket CEO apologises after glitch hits online food deliveries

The Sainsbury’s CEO has apologised to customers after thousands were left without food orders when the supermarket was hit by a software glitch impacting contactless payments.

Sainsbury’s said a technical glitch had affected its ability to fulfil the vast majority of online deliveries today, as customers slammed the supermarket’s “bad service”.

In an email sent to customers, the supermarket’s chief Simon Roberts said he really understood how inconvinient the disruption was and promised the supermarket was resolving the issue.

“I hope this message gives you the information you need for now and I want to give you my personal ressurance that our teams are doing everything we can to fix this issue as quickly as we can,” he said.

Tesco also said it was working to fix a technical issue which had affected a small proportion of orders set to be delivered on Saturday.

Sainsbury’s page on X was inundated on Saturday with customer complaints their orders had not arrived, or had been delayed.

Retired teacher Iain Sankey claimed the East Dulwich branch had no internet and only accepted cash when he visited on Saturday morning.

Key points

  • Software error causing issues, Sainsbury’s says

  • Orders cancelled due to technical glitch, Tesco says

  • Sainsbury’s customers slam ‘bad service’

Welcome to our live blog

11:41 , Alexander Butler

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live blog. Sainsbury’s and Tesco have announced their services have been affected by a technical glitch overnight.

We will be bringing you live updates.

Software error causing issues, Sainsbury’s says

11:51 , Alexander Butler

Sainsbury’s said a technical glitch had affected its ability to fulfil the vast majority of online deliveries today, as customers slammed the supermarket’s “bad service”.

The supermarket’s spokesperson said: “Due to an error with an overnight software update, we are experiencing issues with contactless payments. All of our stores are open as usual today, accepting chip and pin and cash payments.

“We’re experiencing technical issues affecting some stores, our groceries online service and our ability to contact customers.

“Unfortunately, we will not be able to fulfil the vast majority of today’s Groceries Online deliveries. We are working hard to fix the issue and apologise to our customers for the inconvenience. We will contact customers proactively to rebook orders as soon as we can.”

Sainsbury’s said a technical glitch had affected its ability to fulfil the vast majority of online deliveries today (PA)
Sainsbury’s said a technical glitch had affected its ability to fulfil the vast majority of online deliveries today (PA)

Orders cancelled due to technical glitch, Tesco says

11:55 , Alexander Butler

Tesco has also had to cancel a “small proportion” of supermarket deliveries today after a technical issue affected its services, a spokesperson said.

The supermarket told The Independent: “We are working to fix a technical issue which has meant we have had to cancel some online orders that were due for delivery today. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

Customer Craig Butcher told The Independent he was due to receive a delivery but got an email saying it was cancelled due to a “system issue”.

Tesco had to cancel a small proportion of deliveries after it was hit by a technical glitch (PA Wire)
Tesco had to cancel a small proportion of deliveries after it was hit by a technical glitch (PA Wire)

Sainsbury’s customers slam ‘bad service’ after supermarket can’t fulfil ‘vast majority’ of online food orders

12:04 , Alexander Butler

Sainsbury’s glitch leaves customers unable to pay and without online orders

Online ordering system working again, Sainsbury’s says

12:44 , Alexander Butler

Sainsbury’s said its online ordering system is working again and customers can place a new order for delivery from tomorrow.

The supermarket said: “We are unable to contact customers directly but our online ordering system is working as normal and customers can place a new order now for delivery any time from tomorrow. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience and are working hard to fix the issue.”

But customers pointed out it wasn’t clear if their original orders had been cancelled or not, and would need a refund before reordering.

One customer said: “Has my order been cancelled? It’s not showing as such so far. I need a refund before I can reorder.”

Sainsbury’s chaos follows plan to save £1billion through automation

13:15 , Alexander Butler

The chaos around cancelled deliveries comes after Sainsbury’s announced a plan to save around £1billion in costs through reduced deliveries, waste and replenishment costs and the increased use of automation.

The supermarket said it would use more automated tills and warehouse robots, as well as AI forecasting tools to ensure it had the right stock in stores.

Simon Roberts, the chief executive of Sainsbury’s, did not rule out job losses as a result of the changes. He claimed the group’s “legacy systems” were slowing it down and leading to more waste than necessary.

As part of up to £850m in annual investment for the next three years, Sainsbury’s is also set to rejig 180 of its supermarkets to make more space for food.

Sainsbury’s customers slam ‘terrible service'

13:45 , Alexander Butler

Sainsbury’s customers have slammed “terrible service” after discovering the supermarket had been hit by technical issues on social media.

One wrote: “Our delivery was expected between 7.30am and 8.30am. I have tried to call but you’re cutting all customers off.

“We don’t know if our delivery has been cancelled or will be redelivered. You could at least advise your customers. Really bad service.”

Another added: “This is terrible service! I’m in the same boat. Only knew about the issue through social media and am left wondering whether it will be rescheduled or whether I do this my self.”

Sainsbury’s customer spent an hour shopping before realising cash only

14:43 , Alexander Butler

A Sainsbury’s customer claimed to have spent up to an hour shopping inside a supermarket before realising it was cash only at the tills.

Matt Sargent wrote on X: “Spent over an hour shopping in Swindon Sainsbury’s only to get to the checkout and find that the card payment systems are down. We need to talk Sainsbury’s!”

Sainsbury’s CEO apologies to customers

14:55 , Alexander Butler

The CEO of Sainsbury’s has apologised to customers for the “inconvinient” disruption to their weekend caused by a technical glitch.

In an email sent to customers, Simon Roberts said he really understood how inconvinient the disruption was and promised the supermarket was resolving the issue.

“I hope this message gives you the information you need for now and I want to give you my personal ressurance that our teams are doing everything we can to fix this issue as quickly as we can,” he said.

Tesco customers report chaos

16:47 , Athena Stavrou

Tesco customers have taken to social media to express their frustration after it became the second supermarket to experience technical difficulties on Saturday.

One customer said: “So @Tesco has cancelled my home delivery tonight (when I’m working all weekend - great!). It’s again due to technical glitches.”

Another said: “@Tesco second time you’ve cancelled our order within hours of scheduled delivery time due to a ‘technical difficulty’ Completely unreliable, won’t be placing any more orders & would recommend shopping elsewhere if you need guaranteed delivery.”

Pauing coverage

19:00 , Athena Stavrou

We are pausing our live coverage on this event for now.

Sainsbury’s said it has resolved the technical issues that saw many customers unable to use card payments and receive their online orders.