Waitrose scraps automated fulfilment centre deal casting doubt over its online business


Waitrose has abruptly scrapped a partnership which was meant to triple the size of its ecommerce business after just four months.

Today Development Partners (TDP), led by Ocado founder Jonathan Faiman, partnered with Waitrose in May with plans to develop three automated customer fulfilment centres and install a number of high-tech solutions into its supply chain.

The deal, designed to help grow Waitrose’s online operation into a £1 billion business, was penned just three months after Waitrose ended its partnership with Ocado.

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Yesterday the John Lewis Partnership, which includes Waitrose, saw underlying pre-tax loss for the last six months come in at £25.9 million, compared to profits of £800,000 this time last year.

Amid the release of its dismal financial figures, it revealed that Waitrose’s tie-up with TDP was also to be scrapped.

“In mid-May, we announced a proposal to explore opportunities around automated online fulfilment with Today Development Partners,” it stated.

“We have recently decided not to continue with that relationship and will instead pursue our online ambitions utilising existing expertise across the partnership.”

TDP’s chief executive Faiman added: “Our business is solid and growing, new people are joining us and our path is clear. We are building a business that will have a number of different partners in different markets and this was always going to be the case.

“Indeed we are in advanced talks with new partners and there will be announcements in the near future.

“We enjoyed working with Waitrose until our partnership ended back in July and we wish them the very best in the future. Whilst they are an astounding business, we are very excited about our plans with other partners.”

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