UK convenience retailer The Co-operative Group is developing an online sales platform that it plans to trial this year.

The company, the UK’s fifth-largest grocer, said it is investigating “a number of digital solutions” as it looks to expand into the country’s GBP6.5bn (US$8.7bn) online grocery market.

“We’re currently looking at a number of digital solutions to provide an online grocery offering, which will complement our strong community food retailing position,” food retail chief Steve Murrells revealed.

“We recognise that the online grocery market is a rapidly growing channel, which provides a significant opportunity for us as, primarily, a convenience retailer. We have trials planned later in the year to help us identify the best convenient solution to online food retailing.”

The move follows Morrisons entry into the online space through a tie-up with Ocado that will see it launch a web platform in January and the resumption of online deliveries from frozen food specialist Iceland.