Jan 27, 2019

M&S shopping for technology tie-up with Ocado

Marks and Spencer has begun exploring a technology tie-up with online supermarket Ocado, in a sign that the ailing British retailer could look to grocery deliveries as a way to regain lost ground as it cancels expansion plans and closes stores. Ocado has already signed up six retailers, including Wm Morrison in the UK and Kroger in the US, to use its robotic warehouses to pick and pack customers' online grocery orders. Ocado is trying to reach similar deals with dozens of other supermarket groups around the world, having branched out from its original business as a niche supplier of groceries to households in southeast England. The M&S talks, first reported in the Mail on Sunday, raise the new prospect of Ocado technology powering a food brand that competes head on with Waitrose, the high-end supermarket whose products fill most of the virtual shelves on Ocado's own consumer website. Analysts say the modest delivery fees that supermarkets charge are unlikely to cover the cost of picking scores of low-value items off supermarket shelves - a problem that Ocado aims to fix with robotic systems intended to cut down on labour costs.

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