Speaking on BBC Breakfast, a Waitrose spokesman said the two companies complemented each other and were not in direct competition. The website, which has taken two years to build, is due to be up and running today, although is still displaying the sign “we are working hard to complete the finishing touches…please try later”.
Under a 10-year supply agreement signed by the two companies last May, Waitrose will be able to deliver from any of its shops inside the M25 from July. While the supermarket has operated its home-delivery service from five shops since 2008, it plans to add 11 stores by the end of March.
Ocado finance director Andrew Bracey, which delivers Waitrose and its own-brand groceries, said he was “not at all” concerned. He said: “Where we and Waitrose operate, what we are seeing – whether it is store-based or online customers – is that we are together taking much more market share and we are taking that from the major supermarkets.”
This is partly due to both operators benefiting from the increased visibility of their respective vans in these locations, he added.
For the 12 weeks to 20 February, Ocado delivered a 24.7 per cent rise in sales to £146.2m, boosted by new customers and its existing ones shopping more frequently. However, the uplift was down marginally from the 29 per cent jump in sales achieved for the year to 28 November.
The online grocer – which has never made a full-year pre-tax profit – said that its average weekly orders jumped by 26.1 per cent to 103,207 over the 12-week period. With pressure on household budgets, there has been a shift to customers purchasing Ocado’s own-brand products and goods from the WaitroseEssentials value range.
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