The Co-operative Group is extending its free taxi home service for shoppers to 12 stores by the end of the year.

As part of the trial service, Co-op customers who have spent £25 or more in store can receive a free lift home for themselves and their goods.

It is proving particularly popular with the elderly, those with limited mobility or access to transport, and parents with young children who wish to go out into the community to do their shopping, but struggle to carry their purchases home.

The initial three trial stores have seen a near ten-fold uplift in average basket spend when compared to average consumer shopping trends in convenience stores, The Co-op said.

“Retailers need to be increasingly agile in their operations, and the Co-op is committed to exploring new ways to innovate which can create increased consumer choice, ease, speed and convenience,” Chris Conway, Co-op head of food digital, said.

“While it is still very early days, the response from customers and colleagues has been extremely enthusiastic, with many ‘hailing’ the new taxi scheme and added convenience a huge success, going so far as to describe it as a life-line which helps to overcome social isolation in our local communities.”

The Co-op’s home delivery scheme is free of charge within a five-mile radius when customers spend £25 or more in-store in a single transaction.

Taxi firms are vetted to meet strict standards, with the customer agreeing a mutually convenient time for the shopping delivery, and lift home.

Co-op food stores to participate in the trial by the end of 2018 include: Ashley Down, Bristol; Crouch End, London; Dolgellau, Gwynedd; Edinburgh, Dairy Road; Lancing, West Sussex; Pickering, Market Place; Royton, Greater Manchester; Waterloo, Liverpool; Whittlesey, Peterborough.