Morrisons sets date for online grocery service

 
Kasmira Jefford
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MORRISONS is to begin delivering groceries to online customers in Warwickshire from January before eventually reaching Londoners’ doorsteps this summer, as the supermarket plays catch-up with rivals.

Speaking to investors yesterday at a salmon-packing factory in Stratford, chief executive Dalton Philips unveiled how it plans to lure customers away from competitors’ long established online businesses.

This includes software that allows customers to import their favourite products list from other online grocery sites including Morrisons’ partner Ocado. Other services which Philips claimed would be “unique” to Morrisons include allowing customers to check the quality of the produce on their doorstep. If they are not up to standard, refunds and vouchers will be issued.

Shoppers will also be able to order fish or different cuts of meat from a virtual fishmonger or butcher, recreating the experience of shopping at one of its in store counters.

Morrisons, which already sells non-food items online, had held back from selling food because of doubts over the profitability of delivering groceries to customers’ homes.

It initially spent £27m trying to develop its own online business before agreeing to a £216m deal with Ocado earlier this year.

But Philips said yesterday that by combining Morrisons’ fresh food expertise and Ocado’s platform with 12 years of experience, it is confident of making a profit from the 2016-17 year.

“There is a huge difference between late and too late. We are late but we are not too late,” Philips said, adding that it had used the time “wisely” to learn from Ocado and others.

The service has a minimum spend of £40 and Philips said delivery charges were “competitively priced” for an off-peak one hour delivery slot at £3 and £5 for peak evening slots.