M&S to boost Ocado roll-out as online grocery competition intensifies

Marks & Spencer is planning to accelerate the growth of its online food delivery business Ocado as competition with rival grocers intensifies.

The retailer – which recently said it will be focusing its attentions on its food business and opening 104 additional Simply Food stores – is making the move as part of a wider strategy to increase M&S’ share of the UK’s food spending both in stores and online by more than 25%.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Machin has drawn up a blueprint to boost the food delivery business, in a bid to make it faster, more efficient and drive growth. Hannah Gibson, the new boss of Ocado Retail, will be spearheading the review into the business.

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As part of the new strategy, the number of M&S Food products available on the Ocado website is expected to increase from 75% at present, to as close to 100% as possible, over the coming months. Currently, M&S own-label food makes up just 30% of an average basket.

Both Machin and Gibson are particularly focused on making lower-priced products from the ‘Remarksable’ value range available as soon as possible, amid the focus on cost-of-living.

The strategy also looks to make the most of Ocado’s new distribution centres in Bicester, Oxfordshire, and Luton, Bedfordshire. It is aiming to process 700,000 orders a week, up from 367,000 at the end of the last financial year.

Machin also recently told investors that opportunities for the service “haven’t really scratched the surface yet”, with M&S sales via Ocado totalling £1.3 billion in the past two years.

An insider told the Mail that he plans to grow Ocado Retail over the next five years to achieve a “market-leading national position in online food retailing” and a “brilliant showcase for the M&S brand and range”.



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