Waitrose is to add online delivery services to 24 more of its stores as it prepares to split from Ocado.
From 1 September, Ocado will provide home delivery for Marks & Spencer, but Waitrose described the move as “the single biggest growth opportunity for our business”
Currently 150 of the retailer’s shops cover deliveries across the country with 84% of active UK postcodes able to order Waitrose.com shopping. In addition to the new 24 shops – the first of which to come online will be Hailsham, East Sussex – Waitrose said that significant work was underway with the current online shops to further increase their order capacity.
A 110,000 sq ft Customer Fulfilment Centre is due to open in Enfield in “the coming months” as Waitrose.com prepares to serve London postcodes. to respond.
Ben Stimson, digital director at Waitrose, said: “September offers the single biggest growth opportunity for our business and we’re investing heavily to achieve it.
“We’re not starting from scratch – Waitrose.com is growing significantly ahead of the market and we already deliver to tens of thousands of customers each week, added to the millions who visit our shops.
“We have robust plans in place to extend our reach ahead of September. We have significant investment planned for the coming months across our infrastructure, website and service – creating more delivery slots and employing a fleet of new drivers.
“Adding online capability to these 24 more of our shops will mean we can reach even more of the country – we already deliver to 84% of UK postcodes and this is growing all the time. Our teams at head office are working across our website and apps to make our service better, faster and more convenient. And our chefs and product developers will be launching or redeveloping more than 5,000 of our own label products this year.
“We are well prepared for the boost in demand and capacity has already been tested with our busiest ever online order week – the week before Christmas in 2019,” he said.
Earlier this month Ocado said that preparations for the switchover from Waitrose to M&S products in September was well underway. It said that the range review has been completed, and it believed M&S has substitutes at the same price or lower, and of the same quality or better, for the majority of those currently supplied by Waitrose (which represent under 4,000 products out of the total Ocado range of 58,000).