Tesco has agreed a deal with e-commerce delivery firm InPost to deploy automated parcel machines (APMs) in up to 500 stores, potentially eliminating a quarter of a million last mile deliveries.

The parcel lockers are seen by the retail giant as an extra hook to attract customers in the run-up to Christmas and provide shoppers with an efficient and cost effective way to collect or send online purchases.

The deal continues InPost’s rapid growth in the UK, bringing the number of lockers in the country to approximately 2,500.

It has ambitions for 3,000 APMs by the end of 2021 and 10,000 by 2024.

InPost said that once they were all fully operational in the Tesco stores they had the potential to remove 250,000 last mile deliveries, reducing carbon emissions by up to 70% per parcel versus home delivery.

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Jason Tavaria, InPost UK chief executive, said: “By reducing the number of deliveries needed, the new lockers will reduce local traffic, helping create more sustainable, greener communities.”

The arrangement comes as Tesco attempts to prevent strike action among 3,500 HGV drivers and warehouse workers in a dispute over pay.

The Unite union said members had rejected a below inflation 2.5% pay increase and that it was in effect a substantial real terms pay cut.

It has threatened industrial action, which would disrupt Christmas shopping with empty shelves, but Tesco said it was in discussions to agree a pay award.

Unite told this week there had been no further talks.