M&S shoppers hoping to buy online with Ocado could be shut out over “very limited” capacity

Marks & Spencer’s landmark tie-up with Ocado will have “very limited” space for any new customers to purchase its goods online.

M&S chairman Archie Norman told investors during its virtual annual general meeting last week that its upcoming £750 million joint venture with the online giant will see swathes of customers struggle to place orders.

Norman said the spike in demand for Ocado during lockdown meant the company is continuing to operate “at capacity” and therefore will not be able to serve many new customers when the joint venture launches in September.

This is despite M&S announcing that they expect this tie-up, which will see its food sold online for the first time in its history, to double food sales.

“Ocado during the crisis has been in huge demand, because existing Ocado customers have been trying to increase their orders and additional people have been trying to get on to the delivery circuit,” Norman said.

READ MORE: Ocado achieves largest market share of all time as online grocery sales jump 91%

“As a result, because they distribute out of these huge robotic warehouses they are right now operating at capacity, so we can’t say how much scope there will be for new M&S customers or shareholders. But it is likely to be very limited.”

Ocado has come under fire from customers during lockdown for its inability to meet demand for its services.

In April, Ocado told customers it was “sorry” that it was not able to provide grocery delivery to as many customers as it would like.

Mel Smith, the online grocer’s chief executive, told customers in a blog that she was aware customers were struggling to secure delivery slots while in lockdown.

“No matter how hard we work, we simply do not have the capacity right now to meet all the demand we are seeing from existing customers, let alone new ones,” she said.

Despite these issues Ocado has emerged from lockdown in a far better position than it went in, seeing sales jump 91 per cent over June to achieve its highest ever market share of 1.7 per cent.

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16 Comments. Leave new

  • Avatar
    Linda Brown
    July 6, 2020 4:24 pm

    Ocado and M & S need to try harder. We have been desperate for M&S online groceries. Create more capacity ! I thought these companies were keen to expand their customer base.

    Reply
    • Automated warehouses take around 2 years to build. If only “create more capacity” was a simple and quick thing to do.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Julie Ahmed
      July 10, 2020 7:56 am

      Amazing ! As an Ocado shopper I haven’t been disappointed yet . You can’t expect them to build a new warehouse in days !

      Reply
  • I have been waiting so long for Marks and Spencer to deliver. What a let down

    Reply
  • My brother recommended I may like this blog. He was totally
    right. This post actually made my day. You can not consider
    just how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Marks and Spencers should be fighting for more spaces Not the way to treat their valued customers .

      Reply
    • I was already with ocado before the pandemic and paying for the monthly pass to get the weekly slots. It was a wise decision.

      Reply
  • I am a existing Ocado customer, high risk, when covid happened I had to email the Managing Director at Ocado as I could not get any delivery slots, I emailed a copy of my doctors letter showing i was high risk and they put me on their high risk list so I could get deliveries. They have been extremely helpful and I thank them for that.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Yvonne Roberts
    July 7, 2020 11:59 am

    Was really looking forward to having food delivery from m and s food with Ocado. Hope not to be disappointed.

    Reply
    • If avocado can’t meet Mark’s and Spencer’s demands why did Mark’s and Spencer spend so much money to buy in £750 million plus not a good deal

      Reply
  • I hope they sort this out soon as a share holder I bought shares to help m&s get Ocado and as a retired member of staff (30 years service) I will be really angry if I am unable get any deliveries!!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Edward Carter
      August 7, 2020 12:36 pm

      Staff discount – M&S staff will NOT be entitled to use their Staff Discount off their ocado shop. So if your willing to pay full price then fair play to you!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Janet Chappell
    July 7, 2020 4:56 pm

    Having waited so long for M & S to come online with food shopping these are not the reports one wants to hear. Feel very let down !

    Reply
  • Ocado lost a warehouse in a fire and between them and M&S have been reluctant to spend any more building new warehouses. To service the demand that was already higher than they could handle before Corona with little forward planning for the added demand of selling M&S food. The directors should be fired they are useless.

    Reply
  • I have a pass with Ocado and i have been able to get deliveries regularly but i am disappointed that they are leaving Waitrose for M&S as after looking at their site dont think they will have a lot of items that i buy from Ocado/Waitrose

    Reply

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