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Morrisons trials Center Parcs grocery deliveries, while taking a capital light approach to online expansion

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Morrisons is trialling online grocery deliveries direct to guests at Center Parcs. 

The trial, which started earlier this year, enables guests to order food for delivery direct to their holiday lodge.

The news came in Morrisons’ full-year results, out this week, and represents another innovative use of ecommerce by the supermarket, which was the last of the big four supermarkets to sell its goods over the internet. It has built its online service using Ocado’s technology and fulfilment services and said in this week’s figures that its service is now available to 75% of UK households, using both the customer fulfilment centre that Ocado has built for it in Erith, North London alongside new pick-from-store technology. 

Other innovations that the retailer has introduced through what it calls a “capital light” approach to online retailing include supplying goods wholesale to third-party retailers including Amazon. Customers using the Morrisons at Amazon service can now choose from more than 10,000 items for one-hour delivery. Meanwhile, the he introduction of the Morrisons More app offers personalised offers and recipes delivered direct to customers’ smartphones. 

In its full-year figures, Morrisons said investment in picking from store and in a new customer fulfilment centre in Erith, run by Ocado for, meant that it had been able to increase the number of households that its online grocery service covers to 75% of British households. At the same time it has reached its target of supplying £700m of wholesale goods a year. Net profit from wholesale, services, and online reached £12m during the year. In the medium term it aims to make between £75m and £125m in profits from this area of its business, and so far the running total stands at £54m.

Across the group, total revenue reached £17.7bn in the year to February 3, up by 2.7% on the same time last year, while like-for-like figures, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures and do not include fuel or VAT, rose by 4.8%. Profits before tax and one-off costs rose by 8.6% to £406m. 

Chief executive David Potts said the figures showed the Morrisons turnaround was well on track. “This turnaround is based on improving the shopping trip for customers, making Morrisons more popular and accessible,” he said. “And our customers are noticing. Most pleasing of all was another big increase in customer satisfaction, now up a full 20 percentage points in the last four years, which is all down to the friendliness and expertise of our team of unique food makers and shopkeepers.”

The retailer said that it would continue to take a “capital light” approach to growth, investing in areas including online and wholesale, and in digital, distribution and technology infrastructure. 

Image: InternetRetailing Media/Paul Skeldon

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