UK retailer Morrisons has remained coy over reports it may be considering launching an online grocery service in the South East of the country.

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, responding to reports today (28 May) that it is looking to start selling food online in the South East of the UK, a spokesperson told just-food the claims were "speculative". The UK's fourth-largest grocer, he said, is "not at the stage yet where we are making decisions on that".

The spokesperson, however, added: "We have in the past speculated it might be something we will do and urban areas might be an obvious starting point, but we are so far away from that at the moment." Its three main rivals, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's, all sell food online, although CEO Dalton Philips has maintained Morrisons would not follow its competitors until it believed it could operate profitably 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.