M&S reportedly in talks with Ocado to launch £1bn food delivery service

Marks & Spencer is reportedly to be in discussions with online grocer Ocado to launch a £1bn food delivery service.

The two firms are said to have been involved in secret talks over the past few weeks to develop the delivery offering.

The news come ahead of the end of the current Waitrose supply deal, which was signed in 2010, giving Ocado permission to sell Waitrose goods and use its branding on its website and delivery vans.

M&S chairman Archie Norman is reported to be planning the grocery delivery service as part of the retailer’s turnaround plans.

The reports comes on the back of reports that M&S would buy the Waitrose part of the Ocado business, including distribution centres and vans, when the existing contract ends next year.

In 2017, M&S rolled out a trial run of its online food delivery service in London and Reading, with the promise of deliveries within two hours for dinners and groceries with a minimum value of £10 purchased online. Courier firm Gophr was used for deliveries and delivery was free of charge.

Earlier this month, M&S revealed plans to close a further 17 stores by 2022 as part of its overall commitment to shutter 100 stores and undergo digital transformation as consumer spending shifts online.