Blog: Dean BestNow we wait for Waitrose lawyers to issue Ocado verdict

Dean Best | 17 May 2013

Today's top story has, obviously, been news that Morrisons and Ocado have a struck a deal that will see the UK grocer at last launch into online grocery. However, industry watchers are waiting to see what Waitrose, Ocado's existing partner, does next.

Waitrose, which has a long-standing relationship with online specialist Ocado, was initially coy when just-food called the upmarket retailer in the wake of the Morrisons venture being announced this morning.

A couple of hours later, Waitrose did issue a formal statement, pretty much repeating what a spokesperson told us this morning.

That said, the statement made plain Waitrose will be calling in the lawyers to look at the Morrisons deal to see if there is a breach of the contract between it and Ocado.

"We have asked to see the detail of the deal and the operating arrangements. Meanwhile, we have instructed lawyers so that we can get a clear and unequivocal view of the contract and examine what might constitute a breach. This process will take some time so we are unlikely to comment again in the near future," Waitrose said.

Some industry watchers think Waitrose could pragmatically decide Ocado's deal with Morrisons gives the online firm more scope for investment in its technology.

Others think Ocado's agreement with Morrisons means it is now more likely Waitrose will walk away from its deal with the online specialist in 2017.

The UK grocery sector now awaits to see what Waitrose's riposte will be.


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