CHESHUNT, UK: Britain's largest supermarket group Tesco, which now controls 31.6% of the UK retail market for foods and household products, has turned to catalogue-shopping in its hunger for an even greater share of Britons' wallets.

As of 6 September the insatiable retailer will tout some 8,000 non-food products via its Tesco Direct website, with a printed catalogue carrying a narrower product range launching two weeks later.

The move is a direct assault on Argos, Britain's largest catalogue business, owned by reclusive twin brothers Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, whose commercial tentacles also embrace the Daily and Sunday Telegraph national newspapers.

Tesco finance director Andrew Higginson claims the chain's fledgling business will offer a service superior to that of rivals, with customers able either to collect purchases from their nearest superstore or have them delivered direct to their homes.

Moreover, delivery lead times will be dramatically better than the national average, with large items such as sofas delivered within 5-10 days instead of the average six to eight weeks.

While for smaller items, customers will be able to request delivery within their preferred two-hour time slot.

Higginson says research shows that during the past year almost two thirds of shoppers have been forced to wait at home for a day or more for deliveries, while 43% cited long waiting times as the biggest drawback of home shopping.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff