Morrisons has online launch in its sights

By: Michelle Russell - 15 January 2013 14:40

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UK retailer Morrisons may be edging closer to its long-awaited launch into online grocery retail as news of the creation of a digital 'agency' is confirmed.

M Digital, the in-house operation, has been set up to handle the ecommerce launch, it has been reported, although a Morrisons spokesperson says it is to "ensure continuity of on-going digital projects it made sense to bring the Candi team in house". The on-going digital projects being "day-to-day website management", a spokesperson told just-food.

The 'agency' comprises around 10 staff who are understood to have joined the retailer under Transfer of Undertakings (Tupe) proceedings from Candi, a digital agency that held the Morrisons account, before its closure last year.

The news may come as little surprise to industry watchers, many of whom have observed as the retail group continues to weigh up the value of an online grocery offering as its rivals steam ahead with their competitive ecommerce platforms.

Morrisons does have an online presence and management has been keen to emphasise it has been active in developing its online capabilities by acquiring online clothing retailer Kiddicare, a stake in US-based Fresh Direct and launching a wine website.

But as of yet there is no online food offering. On the firm's third-quarter results call last week, CEO Dalton Philips hinted the group could be gearing up to enter the online grocery space and that it could even benefit from a "late mover advantage".

Conlumino analysts have warned this may not be the case given the grocer has been "excruciatingly slow" to respond to emerging consumer shopping trends in food and grocery, but this latest move by Morrisons may be a sign the retailer is finally ready to ride the online grocery wave.

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