M&S confirms retail joint venture talks with Ocado

Marks & Spencer has today responded to press speculation published at the end of January, that the group was in talks with online grocer Ocado to launch a £1bn food delivery service.

The company has now confirmed that it is in discussions with Ocado regarding a joint venture in UK Retail. However, it also said that there was no certainty that these discussions would result in any agreement or that there was a time planned for any such agreement.

M&S was reportedly aiming to acquire 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.

Shares for both companies have lept since the announcement.