Ocado battles to ease tensions with M&S by adding more products online


Almost 600 M&S products have been added to Ocado’s website in the run-up to Christmas as the online grocer seeks to ease tensions with the retail giant.

Bosses at Ocado Retail have bolstered its M&S offering after recent concerns were raised over a lack of joined-up thinking.

Archie Norman, M&S chairman, previously said he was “not happy” with the performance of the joint venture, which was created in 2019 after a deal with Ocado Group.

He said there was “work to do” to improve the Ocado Retail business.

M&S chief executive Stuart Machin has also voiced frustration at Ocado not featuring M&S in its adverts or emails.

As a result, he has pushed for more of its range to be made available online at Ocado.

Last month, he said Ocado Retail chief Hannah Gibson had asked him to be more positive on the venture.

However, he said he had to remain “very objective” as Ocado Retail posted a half-year loss of £23m.

Demand for Ocado Retail’s online grocery service boomed during the pandemic, but it has since struggled as more shoppers returned to stores.

Last year it suffered its first-ever annual fall in grocery sales, although executives are pursuing a turnaround plan – which includes forging closer ties with M&S.

It now stocks around 90pc of M&S’ total range of products, up from around 80pc in early November.

Since the middle of September, Ocado is understood to have added around 580 M&S goods, which it sells alongside its own-brand Ocado range.

Ms Gibson said: “We know our customers value having unbeatable choice throughout the year and especially at Christmas time.

“We’re working closer with M&S every day and the combination of our range and unrivalled service paired with the magic of M&S food means we’re confident we’re offering the best proposition for customers.”

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