Ocado wants to have "equivalent" ranges to Tesco and Morrisons

Ocado wants to have "equivalent" ranges to Tesco and Morrisons

Ocado is to increase its range across both food and non-food as it increasingly goes head-to-head with the online operations of the major grocers in the UK.

The retailer's present food offer of 21,000 lines will increase by 10,000 over the next year, with a medium-term target of 40,000 products. Ocado's non-food trange of 5,000 lines is being doubled this year as it moves towards stocking 20,000 products by the end of 2013. 

Tim Steiner, chief executive of Ocado, said the business has competed closely with the big food retailers on freshness, availability and ease-of-use but admitted it had not done so on range or on price. 

"We're changing and we’ll go through to have the [equivalent] ranges of the largest grocers, Tesco and Morrisons. We still won't have the lowest prices but that’s to come," he said. 

As its food range increases, brands like Daylesford Organic and Laverstoke Park were being introduced and that its Ocado own-brand was also being expanded, which was reducing the level of sales of Waitrose-branded products. The supply contract with the John Lewis-owned grocer runs for at least another five years, indicated Steiner.

Ocado is also expanding its reach, as Steiner suggested the company will soon be able to supply 80% of UK homes – up from the existing 72%. It also has longer-term aspirations to expand overseas, potentially working with local partners.

"International retailers approach us every week. They want to talk and although we are not just about to do it these things don’t happen overnight so we want to have the conversations with them," he said. 

The company also continues to prove its technological trend-setting with mobile sales now accounting for GBP75m of annual sales. The iPad is already generating this same level of sales and more revenues are expected through such devices.

"We're working on a iPad specific app for [launch] later this year with more functionality and we’ll also do a specific Android app for tablets soon," he revealed.