Morrisons plots online assault

Supermarket chain Morrisons is planning a major online attack on its rivals by roll out a new e-commerce site, Morrisons.com, by spring 2012.
The move follows the acquisition of a 10 per cent stake in online grocer FreshDirect for £32m, and the acquisition in February of children’s merchandising e-commerce site Kiddicare.com.
The news comes after the release of the company’s end of year results, which saw it increase underlying pre-tax profits by 13 per cent year on year to £869m.
The move into e-commerce had been widely expected although its investment in New York-based FreshDirect took market watchers by surprise, according to reports.
FreshDirect focuses on organic and local produce and operates a similar business model to UK online retailer Ocado, which delivers produce for high-end supermarket Waitrose. Morrisons traditionally caters for the mid market.
Morrisons acquired Kiddicare last month in a deal which included the rights to the technology and operating platform underpinning the brand.
A statement from Morrisons released today said that Kiddicare operates an “extremely well built technology platform and has an innovative approach to e-commerce”.
Morrisons said it will be working closely to develop the platform for its own ends and under the continuing leadership of Kiddicare founders Scott and Elaine Weavers-Wright.

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