Waitrose “investing heavily” to expand online delivery ahead of Ocado split

Waitrose is expanding its online delivery service to dozens more stores “strategically placed” to deal with the fallout from its upcoming divorce from Ocado.

Waitrose.com’s online delivery service will be expanded to 24 more stores across the UK in the coming months as the upmarket grocer beefs up its logistics operations in preparation for its split with Ocado at the end of August.

Alongside adding a more stores to the 150 supermarkets that already cover online deliveries, Waitrose said “significant work” is being done to increase order capacity and a new customer fulfilment centre is being built in Enfield to respond to the expected surge in demand.

This surge is expected to take place in September after Ocado, which currently stocks more than 4000 Waitrose products and provides the technology behind its online platform, loses its licence to sell Waitrose goods.

Ocado is thought to account for around six per cent of all Waitrose sales, but will soon be jumping ship to Marks & Spencer, stocking 6000 of its products.

READ MORE: Waitrose to launch 5000 new products as Ocado swaps to M&S

Waitrose is piling investment into new initiatives in the hopes that its online customers will stay instead of jumping ship to its upmarket rival, announcing plans to launch 5000 new products last month.

“September offers the single biggest growth opportunity for our business and we’re investing heavily to achieve it,” Waitrose digital director Ben Stimson said.

“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.”

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