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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28 Comments. Leave new

  • 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.

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

    • 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 !

    • My first order with Ocado was abruptly cancelled today! For ‘operational reasons’. If they do not have capacity why bother accepting new customers?!

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

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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!!

    • 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!

      • Jacqueline Devine
        August 30, 2020 8:21 am

        Is this confirmed by M&S? If so can you please point me to where I might find it, I cannot find any reference to the use or not of M&S staff discount through Acado. Thanks

  • 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 !

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Linda Roberts
    August 8, 2020 2:00 pm

    Been trying to do Ocado for years but not in their delivery area .Had an email to say I was now but their site does not recognise my log in details disappointed

  • Is M&S staff discount going to be applied to Ocado delivery?

  • Susannah Cannell
    September 1, 2020 6:30 am

    It is not just new cuatomers. I have shopped with Ocado for years and was delighted that I was fortunate enough to secure deliveries throughout the last 5 months or so. Our neighbours and a few vulnerable relatives all benefitted. As soon as the new M&S slots were announced, I booked a delivery for this morning. I am a teacher so this was my back-to-school stock up. It was cancelled last night due to ‘a surge in demand’. A £30 voucher really was not sufficient compensation and the next available slot is a week away. Disappointing.

  • I want to use my staff discount! If this is unavailable why would I pay the inflated prices plus delivery for this service. Come on m and S we’re not rolling in money working for you.

  • Janette MacDonald
    September 3, 2020 8:15 pm

    Yes, apparently they do not yet deliver to Glasgow postcodes. What is the point in offering a delivery service they cannot provide. All other busy supermarkets are now up to speed with plenty of slots despite Covid. Disappointing! 😡

  • Can I use my m&s staff card for Ocado?

  • I am so disappointed I have tried to get a delivery slot and they are always all gone does anyone know what time they get released?
    My husband is also extremely vulnerable person and shielded during lockdown and I can’t get a priority slot with Ocado. Overall disappointed

  • Julia McKenzie
    December 16, 2020 9:55 pm

    Long term Ocado customer who enjoyed the Waitrose lines on offer.
    Unfortunately M&S are not in the same league incredibly disappointed. Ocado are a great online outfit and I continue to use their excellent service it is such a shame the M&S goods are just not as high a standard as Waitrose. Plus so many of the M&S products are out of stock ? Is there some major supply problem ? The standard of the quality of goods has definitely dropped.

  • It’s ridiculous. Did M&S ever think this one through? They’re a struggling Company, limiting their popular food ordering service only to Ocado ( facing their own customer delivery issues due to demand during COVID ) was a disaster waiting to unfold. When is M&S going to join the real world of business and start thinking outside the box. Thousands of customers must be waiting to order food from them online. Missed opportunity during an epidemic.

  • I am surprised Ocado have any customers left. 9 out of 10 M&S products I try to order are out of stock. YET if I go to the local M&S I can get them. I’m at a loss to understand what’s going on. Weeks after the fire, I’m unable to book my usual slot???? Unforeseen circumstances??? Again!!


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