Waitrose managing director Mark Price said the upmarket retailer is “really happy” with its relationship with Ocado – but could not confirm whether it would renew its contract with the online retailer.
Waitrose, which has had an agreement to supply its products to Ocado since 2000, is set to go head-to-head with the online grocer following the relaunch of its web platform and its entry into the lucrative M25 market.
Until now, a non-compete clause in its contract with Ocado has meant Waitrose has been unable to offer online grocery deliveries in the M25 area.
Speaking at the Retail Week Conference today (17 March), Price pointed to Waitrose’s fresh ten-year contract with Ocado, signed last May, as evidence of the retailer’s satisfaction with the partnership. However, he did not rule out the possibility of ending the venture at the end of the current contract.
The UK online grocery sector is growing and becoming increasingly competitive. Last week, Morrisons announced plans to sell food online in the London area.
Price said that Morrisons entering the sector was an “entirely logical thing to do” and claimed that the online channel takes accounts for 4% of the UK grocery market. By the end of the decade, Price said, that share will increase to 10%.