UK: Morrisons tight-lipped over online grocery launch

By Michelle Russell | 9 October 2012

Morrisons is understood to be poised to begin selling groceries online for the first time

Morrisons is understood to be poised to begin selling groceries online for the first time

UK retailer Morrisons has declined to comment on further reports it is looking to launch an online grocery service later this year.

The retail group is understood to be poised to begin selling groceries online for the first time, according to the Financial Times. It is currently the only one of the major four that does not offer this service.

The FT said the group will also look at testing testing a click and collect service, whereby groceries ordered online are picked up from stores.

A spokesperson for Morrisons, however, told just-food today (9 October) it was not commenting on the latest reports, adding that it will be "an area of strategy we'll be updating on later this year".

Earlier this year, the UK grocer confirmed it would dip its toe in the waters of online retailing, launching a general merchandising website to compliment its in-store food offering in the fourth quarter. However, it has remained silent over reports of any online food offering.

In September, on the release of its first-half results, CEO Dalton Philips told just-food "nobody is making money delivering food online today". However, he indicated that it was making preparation for such a launch, telling analysts: "We're getting underway with convenience and online."

In March, Philips revealed the group had a "team" studying the operations of EBIT-generating Fresh Direct, the US-based online food retailer in which it acquired a 10% stake last year.

The reports come as rival Tesco increases its focus on e-retailing. On the release of its first-half results last week, CEO Philip Clarke revealed the group plans to increase its online expansion. He told reporters that Tesco wants to be at the forefront of the online revolution, not "a victim of it".

Sectors: Multichannel, Retail

Companies: Morrisons, Tesco

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