M&S Considering Plans For Online Food Delivery Service

Marks and Spencer is considering plans to enter the online food sector by launching a food delivery service similar to that of Ocado, the successful deliver arm of rival grocer Waitrose .
The move would see the high street retailer selling non M&S-branded food products for the first time.
Discussing the retailer’s plans at an industry networking event, Jim Waller, commercial director of food at M&S told delegates that online food retail was the most dynamic part of the grocery market and said the firm had been “too slow” in entering the sector.
He added that the retailer would have to sell a full offering of groceries for the venture to work, as continuing with its practice of selling a range of around 3,000 own-label products would make the venture less financially viable.
Waller explained: “If you are going to put together an online operation you need to provide a full grocery offer .”
“Whether we do it with a partner is up for consideration. We can’t afford to bury our heads in the sand about online .”
Waller did not comment on a possible launch date for the online initiative, but said it would be unlikely to be this year.
According to research from Verdict, online grocery sales in the UK rose by 33 per cent in 2007, while supermarket sales increased by just 3.7 per cent.

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