M&S piloting a food delivery service

Food and fashion giant Marks and Spencer (M&S) is to trial an online grocery shopping and delivery service. Media reports suggest this might be through Ocado.

M&S CEO Steve Rowe said in a statement, “We continue to review Food online carefully.

“It has not cost us anything over the last five years by not being online with food. Our customers haven’t moved yet, but they will and we need to ensure that we are ready with the right response,” Rowe was quoted as saying.

“There are unanswered questions over what this means for M&S and we have a team looking at this now with a view to undertaking a soft trial in the autumn.

“The economics of food online are not straight forward and it is not something that we are going to rush into until we have substantial customer insight and a better understanding of what is right for M&S and right for our customers.”

At present, M&S customers can buy a range of ‘party food’ online, though this is only for collection at their local M&S store. In addition the retailer offers wine and ‘gift foods’ delivery. The new programme would allow M&S to compete with Sainsburys, Morrisons and Tesco.

Last week M&S announced that it is to update its existing stores around the UK, with a strong focus on groceries and food. While there are plans to close six stores there are also plans to open a further 36 stores in the next six months. 34 of will be ‘food stores’ that include stores branded ‘ M&S Foodhall’ and ‘ M&S Simply Food’ and franchise stores branded ‘ M&S Simply Food’ and ‘ M&S Food To Go’ .

The Telegraph newspaper reported that a future roll out may be done with online grocer Ocado but this has been dismissed by M&S as speculation.  
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