Ocado’s chairman has urged the British public not to “panic” over potential food shortages as it pauses its guaranteed “reserved” delivery service.
Lord Stuart Rose, who himself believes he has contracted the virus, told BBC radio yesterday evening that while Ocado has struggled to meet demand there was no danger supermarkets running out of food during the lockdown.
The former M&S chairman, who has been self-isolating for two weeks, said: “There isn’t going to be no food tomorrow”, assuring that “nobody will starve”.
He went on to urge people to buy what they need and “make their meals work” to prevent overloading supermarkets at such crucial times.
“You can make a relatively small amount of food go a long way and I think we live in a very profligate society today – we buy too much, we eat too much, we consume too much and we have to learn new ways,” he added.
This comes as Ocado has been forced to pause its “reserved” delivery service, which sees customers receive a regular delivery day and time with an already full virtual basket which can be amended.
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The service has been a lifeline for those struggling to find their own delivery slots, but now Ocado has been forced to pause the service due to “high demand”.
An email to customers read: “We’re very sorry, but due to technical problems caused by unprecedented demand, Ocado Reserved hasn’t been functioning as it should.
“Unfortunately, this means that Ocado Reserved orders will not be going out for delivery – including those already placed. We have made the decision to pause the service completely until the technical problems have been fixed.”
Ocado has been one of the worst hit by high demand and last week was forced to close down its website and app entirely while it caught up on a backlog of orders.
While its website is currently running again, it is no longer accepting new sign ups, stating that it has “made the call to temporarily prioritise deliveries for our existing customers.
This week ratings giant Moody’s downgraded Ocado’s corporate family rating (CFR) and probability of default rating (PDR) due to the doubling of its gross debt and “very significant capital spending” in the UK to drive growth and develop new technologies.