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Waitrose expands online service ahead of the end of its Ocado partnership

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Waitrose is rolling fulfilment of its online delivery service out to more of its supermarkets around the UK, as it prepares for the end of its long-term tie-up with Ocado.

The supermarket currently serves 84% of UK postcodes from 150 stores. Now it is adding another 24 shops as well as a new customer fulfilment centre, due to open in Enfield in the next few months, opened in response to rising levels of demand in the capital. Waitrose, ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research, is also expanding order capacity at those stores that already fulfil online orders.  

Waitrose’s deal with Ocado runs out in September 2020, when Ocado will instead start to supply food from Ocado Retail joint venture partner Marks & Spencer. 

Waitrose says the new expansion of its order capacity presents new opportunities for it.

“September offers the single biggest growth opportunity for our business and we’re investing heavily to achieve it,” said Waitrose digital director Ben Stimson. “We’re not starting from scratch – is growing significantly ahead of the market and we already deliver to tens of thousands of customers each week, added to the millions who visit our shops.

“We have robust plans in place to extend our reach ahead of September. We have significant investment planned for the coming months across our infrastructure, website and service – creating more delivery slots and employing a fleet of new drivers.”

The company says it is working to improve its website and apps and to make delivery more convenient, while also launching or redeveloping 5,000 more own-label products over the coming year. These will exclusively be available online through Waitrose since Ocado will lose the right to sell them. 

Ocado and Waitrose have worked together since 2002, when Waitrose became a partner in the then-fledgling grocery delivery company. 

Image courtesy of Waitrose

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