London's ultra-fast grocery delivery war heats up with the arrival of Russian tech giant Yandex

A courier for Yango Deli, a rapid grocery delivery service run by Russia’s Yandex, rides through London.

Yango Deli

LONDON — Russian technology giant Yandex is jumping into London’s heated grocery delivery market, with a service that ships essential items to people’s doors in as little as 15 minutes.

Yandex said Thursday it has opened four dark stores — mini warehouses designed to fulfill online grocery orders — across the U.K. capital. The company’s service, called Yango Deli, has the potential to reach 1.4 million customers, Yandex said.

Yango Deli will compete with a multitude of rapid grocery delivery services — from Istanbul-based Getir to Berlin’s Gorillas — which have entered the city over the past year.

Such companies have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars from venture capitalists this year amid heightened demand for online food and grocery delivery during the coronavirus pandemic.

They’ve also provoked a response from older rivals in Europe, like Deliveroo and Delivery Hero, which are investing heavily in grocery shopping. Deliveroo launched a 10-minute grocery delivery feature called Hop with British retailer Morrisons, while Delivery Hero is reportedly nearing a deal to take a stake in Gorillas.

With Yandex arriving on the scene, the competition in London is set to escalate even further. The company had already been spending aggressively on grocery delivery with its local Yandex.Lavka brand and the launch of Yango Deli in France and Israel.

“The UK, and London in particular, is an exciting new market for Yango Deli, as the city is especially well suited to the dark store model,” Evgeny Chernikov, U.K. general manager of Yango Deli, said in a statement.

“The densely populated capital is full of busy professionals, young students and many others who appreciate the convenience of a fast, stress-free shopping experience.”


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