Waitrose is extending its online delivery service to operate from 24 more UK shops ahead of the expiry of its deal with Ocado.
The first of the strategically located stores is Hailsham in East Sussex.
Currently Waitrose products are sold via Ocado through a deal between the two. However, the deal has not been renewed Ocado is replacing these with Marks and Spencer products as of September.
In view of this, Waitrose is expanding sales through its own site, which already sells to tens of thousands of customers per week from 150 stores. The company will correspondingly increase its fleet of drivers and is also planning to open a new fulfilment centre in Enfield to serve London within the next few months.
Waitrose digital director Ben Stimson said: “September offers the single biggest growth opportunity for our business and we’re investing heavily to achieve it.
“We’re not starting from scratch – Waitrose.com 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. And adding online capability to these 24 more of our shops will mean we can reach even more of the country – we already deliver to 84% of UK postcodes and this is growing all the time. Our teams at head office are working across our website and apps to make our service better, faster and more convenient. And our chefs and product developers will be launching or redeveloping more than 5000 of our own label products this year.
“We are well prepared for boost in demand and capacity has already been tested with our busiest ever online order week – the week before Christmas in 2019.”